The four nominees for the 2019 Turner Prize will share this year’s award after collectively urging the judges not to choose a single winner. Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Tai Shani, and Oscar Murillo wrote a joint letter to the prize’s panel of judges asking to make the unusual move in the name of “commonality, multiplicity and solidarity,” according to the Guardian.
“The politics we deal with differ greatly, and for us it would feel problematic if they were pitted against each other, with the implication that one was more important, significant or more worthy of attention than the others,” the four artists wrote.
The judges unanimously agreed to the nominees’ plea, setting a precedent in the prize’s 35-year history. The decision was revealed today by British Vogue‘s editor-in-chief, Edward Enniful, at a ceremony in the city of Margate, where the winners’ works are on view at the Turner Contemporary through January 12, 2020. The £40,000 (~$52,000) that comes with the prestigious prize will be equally split between the four winners.
In their letter, the artists continued: “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.”
The announcement comes shortly before the UK’s general election on December 12. At the ceremony, Shani wore a political necklace with a message to voters, reading: “Tories Out.”
In a statement, the prize’s judges said: “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.”