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Turner Prize 2021

One of the best-known prizes for visual arts in the world comes to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry.  

Opening at the Herbert this autumn, the exhibition aims to promote public debate around new developments in British art.  

For the first time, a Turner Prize jury selected a shortlist consisting entirely of artist collectives. Tackling pressing issues in society today, the five shortlisted collectives are:

  • Array Collective 
  • Black Obsidian Sound System 
  • Cooking Sections 
  • Gentle/Radical 
  • Project Art Works 

Their work encompasses films, installations, and interdisciplinary practices, as well as socially engaged programmes reflecting on solidarity and community demonstrated in response to the pandemic. All nominees work closely and continuously with communities across the breadth of the UK to inspire social change through art.  

Established in 1984, the prize is named after the radical British painter JMW Turner (1775-1851). The Turner Prize winner is awarded £25,000 with £10,000 going to each of the others shortlisted.

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ARRAY COLLECTIVE 



Array Collective, Pride 2019
Photo: Laura O’Connor

Array Collective is a group of Belfast-based artists who create collaborative actions in response to issues affecting Northern Ireland. Their work encompasses performances, protests, exhibitions and events. The jury commended the way Array Collective fuse seriousness with humour, and address contemporary issues using ancient folk imagery. Recent projects include public artworks in support of the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland, challenging legislative discrimination of the queer community in Northern Ireland, and participation in the group exhibition Jerwood Collaborate! in London. 
 

BLACK OBSIDIAN SOUND SYSTEM 

Evan Ifekoya, Ritual Without Belief, 2018
Commissioned by Gasworks. Courtesy the artist. Photo credit: Andy Keate

Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) is a London-based collective which works across art, sound and radical activism. Formed by and for QTIBPOC (Queer, Trans and Intersex Black and People of Colour), B.O.S.S. challenges the dominant norms of sound-system culture across the African diaspora through club nights, art installations, technical workshops and creative commissions. Recent projects include live events at Somerset House, and a Lux/ICO film commission Collective Hum, documenting the polyphony of collectivity. The jury praised B.O.S.S.’s live performances and their commitment to community, including an online 24-hour fundraising rave, organised in part by members of the collective. 
 

COOKING SECTIONS 


Cooking Sections, Art Now: Salmon, A Red Herring, Tate Britain, 2020
Photo © Tate (Lucy Dawkins) 2020

Cooking Sections is a London-based duo examining the systems that organise the world through food. Using installation, performance and video, they explore the overlapping boundaries between art, architecture, ecology and geopolitics. The jury applauded the ingenuity of their long-term CLIMAVORE project asking how our diet can respond to the climate emergency. Recent work has included a sound, light and sculpture installation at Tate Britain in 2020 reflecting on salmon farming, as well as an ongoing installation-performance in the Isle of Skye which sees an underwater oyster table turn into a community dining space at low tide. 
 

GENTLE/RADICAL 


Gentle Radical, Doorstep Revolution 
Photo: Gentle Radical

Gentle/Radical is a project based in Cardiff run by artists, community workers, performers, faith practitioners, writers and others, advocating for art as a tool for social change. They create real and virtual spaces for communities in Wales to engage with culture. The jury admired their deep commitment to the hyper-local community of Riverside in which they are based. Recent activities include Doorstep Revolution, an ongoing project to share neighbourhood stories during lockdown; and the Gentle/Radical Film Club, a pop-up cinema space for diverse communities to engage in dialogues around the urgent issues of our time through independent film. 
 

PROJECT ART WORKS 


Project Art Works Illuminating the Wilderness, On Location in Glen Affric 2018
© Project Art Works

Project Art Works is a collective of neurodiverse artists and makers based in Hastings. They explore art through collaborative practice with, for and by neurominorities and disseminate their work through exhibitions, events, films and digital platforms. Recent projects include the film Illuminating the Wilderness 2019, which follows members of the collective with their families and carers exploring a remote Scottish glen. The jury praised their continuing work through the pandemic, both online and in a residency at Hastings Contemporary where passers-by could still encounter work by the collective through the windows of the closed gallery. 
 

The members of the Turner Prize 2021 jury are Aaron Cezar, Director, Delfina Foundation; Kim McAleese, Programme Director, Grand Union; Russell Tovey, Actor; and Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain. 

The Turner Prize 2021 is supported by the AKO Foundation, Avanti West Coast and Arts Council England, with additional support from ArtAV, The John Browne Charitable Trust and Lance Uggla.

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For press information about Tate and the Turner Prize contact Tate’s Press Office: Email kitty.malton@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)7590598293 

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