LONDON – Zanzibar-born artist Lubaina Himid, 63, was picked on Tuesday to receive the 2017 Turner Prize, the most important award for contemporary art in the United Kingdom, for her work honoring African culture.
Himid, who lives in the northern town of Preston, will receive a cash prize of 25,000 pounds (28,300 euros or $33,500), which this year for the first time goes to a black woman and an artist over age 50.
The other nominees for the Turner Prize, created in 1984 – originally for artists younger than 50 – were British-Jamaican Hurvin Anderson, 52; Germany’s Andrea Buttner, 45; and Palestinian-Irish Rosalind Nashashibi, 43.
Himid, a key figure in the so-called “black movement” in the arts, which extols the creativity of African art, said that she was “surprised” to receive the award, given that her work has been passed over in the past by the critics.
The head of the panel of judges, Alex Farquharson, the director London’s Tate Britain gallery, praised Himid for her “uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today.”
Launched in 1984 and named after English 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, the award is Britain’s most high-profile and most prestigious visual arts award.
The prize was bestowed this year in the city of Hull, the UK’s culture capital for 2017.