02/12/2021

Array Collective Wins 2021 Turner Prize

Array Collective, a group of Belfast-based artists, have been announced the winners of the Turner Prize 2021.

The group, which comprises of 11 artists, have become the first Northern Irish winners to scoop the prestigious award.

The ceremony took place in Coventry Cathedral on Wednesday, 01 December, where they were presented with the £25,000 prize money.

The four other nominees - Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.), Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical and Project Art Works - were all awarded £10,000.

The jury awarded the top prize to Array Collective for "their hopeful and dynamic artwork which addresses urgent social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland with humour, seriousness and beauty".

The winning artwork, The Druithaib's Ball, was designed as a place to gather outside the sectarian divide which has dominated the collective memory of Northern Ireland for the last 100 years.
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Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize jury, told the PA news agency: "Of course, it was a hard one, the decision.

"But what the jurists were drawn to, I think, was both a combination of the seriousness of the issues they're dealing with, in a very divided world, but the joy, the hope, the fun, the surprise.... with which they do their political work as artworks.

"I think the feeling was that the exhibition had really successfully translated the spirit of what they do, how they go about it, this amazing [shebeen] you know, illegal pub, Northern Irish style in the middle of a gallery with these amazing videos of performances that were quite mesmerising...

"While underneath it all a really serious message, imagining a life, beyond sectarianism, beyond patriarchy, that's campaigning for reproductive rights, for LGBT+ rights, but again with a spirit of the absurd and a light touch that's nevertheless profound and engaging, and they felt that was absolutely present in the exhibition space in a very surprising way."

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