2019 Turner Prize shortlisted artists

2019 Turner Prize shortlisted artists
Turner Contemporary. Photo credit Richard Bryant.
Leading lights  -   Artists

Earlier today, the shortlist for the 2019 Turner Prize was announced. This year the four artists competing for the prestigious award are Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani. Following the 2018 Turner Prize, which ended up focusing solely on video installations, this year’s cohort, who are all under 50, will feel quite different. The exhibition of works by the nominees will be held at the Turner Contemporary in Margate as every other year the exhibition is held outside of Tate galleries. It will be on show from September 28th through January 2020 with the 2019 winner of the prize being announced on December 3rd.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, installation view of Walled Unwalled in The Tanks, Tate Modern London 2018. Photo by Tate Photography.


Chosen for his solo exhibition ‘Earwitness Theatre’ at Chisenhale Gallery, his video installation Walled Unwalled, and performance After SFX at Tate Modern, Abu Hamdan’s works often focus crimes that have been heard, not seen. His installations hinge on the complexities of and notions of memory, language, advocacy, and human rights.


Helen Cammock

Helen Cammock, video still from The Long Note
2018. Courtesy the artist.


Cammock was shortlisted after her solo exhibition ‘The Long Note’ at Void in Derry-Londonderry and IMMA in Dublin. The exhibition honed in on social histories through film, print, photography, text, and performance in an urgent manner that ultimately winning favour with the jury. ‘The Long Note’ specifically highlighted the history of women during the civil rights movement in Derry Londonderry and the cyclical nature of history, which revealed itself, yet again, during the time.


Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo, installation view of Oscar Murillo | Zhang Enl i at chi K11 art museum (Shanghai), 21st March – 31st May 2019. Photographs by Ou Chia. – Cheng © Oscar Murillo. Courtesy the artist and chi K11 art museum.


Participation in the 10th Berlin Biennale, a solo exhibition at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge titled ‘Violent Amnesia,’ and a solo exhibition at Shanghai’s chi K11 art museum landed Murillo on the 2019 shortlist. Reflecting on his own experiences and globalisation, Murillo pushes the boundaries of mediums and techniques. His works include paintings, drawings, sculptures, sound, and performance utilizing an array of materials.


Tai Shani

Tai Shani, installation view of DC: Semiramis, Glasgow International 2018. © Keith Hunter. Courtesy the artist.


Shani was selected after participating in the 2018 Glasgow International, De Le Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea, and in Still Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance at Nottingham Contemporary as well as her solo show called ‘DC: Semiramis at The Tetley’ in Leeds. Her ongoing project, Dark Continents, which was based on Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies, renders an allegorical city of women creating anachronistic views through theatrical installations, performances, and film.


In its 30th year, the Turner Prize has morphed and grown with the times, sometimes resulting in criticism and outrage. ‘Every year there’s always a surprise of some kind,’ says Nicholas Serota, director of Tate, in a video released by Tate celebrating the prize. ‘People complain because suddenly there’s an artist working in performance or they wonder whether the prize will ever go to a painter again. I think the great achievement of the Turner Prize over 30 years is to have given people an opportunity to disagree with each other and to form a view. Not everyone likes contemporary art, I don’t expect everyone should but I think the Turner Prize has them at least given the opportunity to engage with it.’