Turner Prize 2019 winner(s) announced during ceremony at Dreamland

The artists formed a collective

The winner of the Turner Prize 2019 surprise announcement tonight (December 3) was that the artists had formed themselves into a collective – meaning the prize went to all the shortlisted artists.

The announcement was made by Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful OBE.

Tai Shani

The shortlisted artists were Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani. Their work is on show at Turner Contemporary until January 12, 2020.

Oscar Murillo (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart Wilson/Getty Images for Turner Contemporary)

This is the first time in Turner’s 35 year history that all artists have been awarded the prize as a collective. In a statement the four artists spoke of racism, isolation and exclusion and said they were standing against this in a gesture of cohesion.

The award ceremony took place at Dreamland. Earlier in the day public events took place at Turner Contemporary, which was lit in rotating colours for the evening.

Helen Cammock
Lawrence Abu Hamdan 

In a joint letter to the jury, the artists said: “At this time of political crisis in Britain and much of the world, when there is already so much that divides and isolates people and communities, we feel strongly motivated to use the occasion of the Prize to make a collective statement in the name of commonality, multiplicity and solidarity – in art as in society.”

Tai Shani, Turner Prize 2019 entry, courtesy Turner Contemporary and the artist. Photograph by David Levene

The jury praised the artists for their commitment to the collective power of art. They noted that this unique and timely act of solidarity encapsulates the very reasons for which these four artists were nominated in the first place, as demonstrated in the works they exhibited at Turner Contemporary.

Oscar Murillo, Turner Prize 2019, courtesy Turner Contemporary and the artist. Photograph by David Levene 

A statement from the jury said:At our meeting today, we were presented with the letter from the artists and unanimously took the decision to agree to their request. We are honoured to be supporting this bold statement of solidarity and collaboration in these divided times. Their symbolic act reflects the political and social poetics that we admire and value in their work.”

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, After SFX, 2018. Turner Prize 2019 at Turner Contemporary, Margate 2019. Photo by Stuart Leech

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner Prize jury, said: In coming together and presenting themselves as a group, this year’s nominated artists certainly gave the jury a lot to think about.

“But it is very much in the spirit of these artists’ work to challenge convention, to resist polarised world views, and to champion other voices. The jury all felt that this made the collective a worthy winner of the Turner Prize.”

Helen Cammock, Turner Prize 2019, courtesy Turner Contemporary and the artist. Photograph by David Levene 

One of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984, the prize is named after JMW Turner (1775-1851) and is awarded to an artist born or based in the UK for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the past twelve months.

(Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart Wilson/Getty Images for Turner Contemporary)

The members of the Turner Prize 2019 jury were Alessio Antoniolli, Director, Gasworks & Triangle Network; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director of The Showroom Gallery and Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths; Victoria Pomery, Director, Turner Contemporary, Margate and Charlie Porter, writer.

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The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain. Next year the prize will return to Tate Britain.

Before the award

A special live broadcast took place earlier at the gallery as part of BBC Radio 6 Music’s annual Art is Everywhere show, writes Jodie Nesling.

DJ Mary Anne Hobbs interviewed former Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey and performance artist, Theo Adams.

There were live performances from instrumentalist Erland Cooper and east Kent-based duo, AVA. Leckey told Mary Anne Hobbs winning the coveted prize in 2008 was  “blissful” but that today’s competition feels different- for the better -with less onus on artists trying to shock.

Broadcaster and local Gemma Cairney  chose a record from Margate musician, Falle Noike to play. The radio presenter also interviewed arts charity founder, Ollie Briggs on how  their organisation, Arts Education Exchange is trying help young people access the arts especially with Margate being one of the UK’s most deprived areas.

Deal-based musicians AVA then played live to a backdrop of artistic images projected onto the wall.

The show was wrapped-up by Erland Cooper whose ethereal sounds complimented the atmospheric winter sun and seascape visible through the gallery windows.


  1. I watched tonight’s award ceremony on BBC news I was surprised by the political motivated result from all four winners art should keep out of politics.A bit of a coincidence during general election.

  2. I’m pleased that the artists have spoken out as one against racism especially as it just keeps on rearing its ugly head. I still have trouble understanding why there is still so much hate in all types of people let’s face it we are all from the same species homo-sapiens (humans). And saying it now in margate especially as we have the group of artists doing a fantastic work with the young people of all Nationalities and collecting them from their homes and taking them to the art studio they use and teaching them and nurturing the talent and skills that the young people have. To me art is like falling in love with someone we all find that one person who we fall in love with and art is the same we all love at least one piece of art be it a Goya or a constable to a piece of Graffiti or a statue there is a piece of art we like. We’ll done to the collective in winning as one and shaming the racist of the world.

    • What a load of rubbish! This is not art.
      The picture waits for my verdict;it is not to command me,but I am to settle it’s claim to praise.
      Ralph Waldo Emerson

    • I agree with Big Chris. It’s good to see these artists choosing co-operation not segregation. How can politics be kept out of art? And why should it be? Art in all its forms is part of life just as music is.

  3. Just think if I hadn’t listened to my parents and stopped making guy faulks and got a proper job I could be an artist…….art dont make me laugh seen 6yrs do better….but I guess this is the future of thanet than middle class arty people 🙁

  4. Art cannot keep out of politics because art is about expression and communication of ideas. There is no obligation on the viewer to like, approve or even engage, but imo art makes life interesting!

    • Art IS political and the best art always is – check out Picasso’s ‘Guernica ‘ which is against the barbarity of war. Also – the Guerilla Girls who say women have been excluded from art ! Also – Banksy who says art is for everyone not just for the elite few ! We all have to open our eyes and wake up to what’s going on in this world – with the danger of climate change and the rise of the far right and increasing inequality! Artists should be part of the process of guiding humanity towards a better future for us all !! There is no opt out clause !

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