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Turner Prize 2019: Nominated artists ask judges not to pick a single winner

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Clockwise from top left: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani
The four artists nominated for the 2019 Turner Prize will share this year's award after urging the judges not to choose any of them as a single winner.Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Tai Shani and Oscar Murillo got together to write to the prestigious prize's panel.They said they wanted to make a "collective statement" at a time when there was "already so much that divides and isolates people and communities".The judges agreed and revealed the move at Tuesday's ceremony in Margate, Kent.The art world had gathered at the town's Dreamland amusement park to find out who had won, but even for an award once known for its shock value, the four-way split was unexpected.
Oscar Murillo with his art in Margate
This year's nominated works included Murillo's congregation of human effigies staring at a black curtain covering a window overlooking the sea; and "audio investigator" Abu Hamdan's sound effects, recreating the noise inside a notorious Syrian prison. They were the pre-ceremony favourites.Shani presented a brightly-coloured feminist fantasy world "beyond patriarchal limits"; while Cammock made a film commemorating the role of women at the start of the Northern Irish Troubles in the late 1960s.In their letter to the judges, the quartet said they all made art "about social and political issues and contexts we believe are of great importance and urgency".They continued: "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.
Tai Shani with her nominated installation
"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."They ended by asking the five-strong panel: "We hope you will find you can honour the position we have taken and award the prize this year to the four of us collectively."The jury unanimously agreed. "We are honoured to be supporting this bold statement of solidarity and collaboration in these divided times," they said. "Their symbolic act reflects the political and social poetics that we admire and value in their work."Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson, who chaired the judges, 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."
No winners and losers
The Turner Prize is Britain's most high-profile contemporary art award. The winner normally receives ?25,000, with ?5,000 going to the other shortlisted artists.Almost 95,000 people have visited an exhibition of the shortlisted works since it opened in September at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate. The exhibition runs until 12 January.Three years ago, Turner winner Helen Marten pledged to share the prize money with her fellow nominees - three weeks after doing the same with her winnings from the inaugural Hepworth Prize.And earlier this year, the Booker Prize was split between two winners - Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo - after the judges refused to select a single victor.
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