Lubaina Himid becomes oldest artist to win Turner Prize award

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Lubaina Himid has been awarded the 2017 Turner Prize.

African-born, Lancashire-based Himid, 63, is the oldest artist ever to win the best known accolade in British art, which was opened to over 50s this year for the first time in more than 25 years.

The £25,000 award was announced by the musician and artist Goldie at Hull Minster, as Hull continues to celebrate its year as UK City of Culture 2017.

Himid's work celebrates black creativity and the African diaspora and includes paintings, prints, drawings and installations.

She was born in Zanzibar in 1954 and is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston.

The jury said they awarded the prize to Himid for a trio of "outstanding" shows in Oxford, Bristol and Nottingham.

They praised the artist for "her expansive and exuberant approach to painting which combines satire and a sense of theatre".

But Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, who chair the jury, warned this award should not be seen as the Turner Prize becoming a "lifetime achievement award".

Mr Farquharson said: "The jury was really impressed both the current vitality of Lubaina's work - as shown by these three exhibitions in Oxford Bristol and Nottingham - as well as the current relevance of three decades of her practice and her importance as a curator and an educator in that time, making - especially back in the 80s - work by black and Asian women visible through exhibitions she made.

"And they were impressed by the seriousness of themes she addressed. They feel they have a lot of resonance in the present - the legacy of colonialism, the different forms racism continues to take. But, also, the weird and visual exuberance with which she conveys them."

Mr Farquharson said he believed Himid's selection vindicated the decision to lift the restriction on older artists.

He said: "It reflects well on the motivation for lifting it which is an increasing sense that the work of older artists has been making considerable impact on what we're looking at and how we're thinking about art today.

"I think there is no longer an overwhelming focus on youth as equating to what's innovative in contemporary art."

But Mr Farquharson added: "I still think that Lubaina winning is still very clearly not about the Turner Prize becoming a lifetime achievement award. I think it's about the resonance of someone's work now and someone's work made back then, in the present moment."

The prize was presented in Hull as one of the highlights of the Hull 2017 celebrations, which have been hailed a huge success.

The shortlist included two artists who are over 50. As well as Himid it featured British painter Hurvin Anderson, who is 52.

They were competing against German artist Andrea Buttner and Palestinian-English artist Rosalind Nashashibi, who is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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