Black woman artist wins Britain's Turner Prize

Black woman artist wins Britain's Turner Prize

Himid is the first black woman to win the prize, as well as the oldest-ever victor, at 63. Perhaps seismically. For the first time in a long time (aside from the relentlessly predictable cycle of auction records) contemporary art has elbowed its way back onto the front pages - and thrillingly.

Lubaina Himid was born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Also speaking to the Guardian, Himid stated that she was happy to have won the award, and honored the many other black women who were never able to win, even after they were shortlisted.

For her solo exhibition On This Island at The University Art Galleries at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts in California, and her participation in Documenta 14.

All of this - and much else besides - makes her newsworthy.

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Lubaina Himid has won this year's Turner Prize, becoming the oldest recipient of the accolade at the age of 63. Some art critics are likely to tut-tut a bit and question how much the rules appear to have been relaxed: not just older artists now, but old work too. Himid, a former set designer, created a series of theatrical, life-size plywood figures, satirizing the politics and art of the 1980s. Incorporating painting, drawing and collage on cut-outs, the installation relates its historical inspiration to our current climate by including contemporary newspaper headlines and images of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chair of the jury, said he believed Himid's selection vindicated the decision to lift the restriction on artists over 50 being nominated. He felt those artists" contributions had not been "recognized as a key aspect of the story of art at the time. According to the BBC, the artist began to be known in the 80s as part of the "black" movement.

Her work examines the histories of colonialism and the slave trade, and also the way their effects continue to play out in society today. They admire her expansive and exuberant approach to painting which combines satire and a sense of theatre.

British musician Goldie presented the award, praising the political views expressed by all the shortlisted contestants' work: "It's good that the artists are digging deep... challenging people's perceptions".

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