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Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum launches Turner Prize 2021 exhibition

Project Art Works. The Turner Prize 2021 Exhibition at The Herbert Art Museum and Gallery, Coventry. Photograph by David Levene

Making a welcomed return after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19, The Turner Prize 2021 exhibition showcasing the work of the five nominees opens at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry tomorrow.

Established in 1984, the prize is named after the radical British painter JMW Turner (1775-1851) and the winner will receive £25,000 with £10,000 given to each of the others four finalists.

For the first time, a Turner Prize jury has selected a shortlist consisting entirely of artist collectives and artist-run projects:

They five shortlisted projects are:

Array Collective: a group of 11 artists who create collaborative actions in response to socio-political issues affecting Northern Ireland.

Array Collective playfully use performance, protest, photography, print, installation and video. Photograph by David Levene

Black Obsidian Sound System: a London-based collective which works across art, sound and radical activism.

Cooking Sections: Established in 2013, they are a duo based in London and their practice uses food as a lens and tool to observe landscapes in transformation.

Gentle/Radical: an artists-and-others-run project established in Cardiff in 2016. The organisation was formed through a commitment to art, creativity and culture as tools for social change

Project Art Works: a collective of neurodiverse artists and makers based in Hastings since 1997 that share an expanded idea of art created through collaborative practice with, for and by neurominorities.

Inspiring social change through art

A discursive/studio space by Black Obsidian Sounds System. The Turner Prize 2021 Exhibition. Photograph by David Levene

The Turner Prize is organised by Tate Britain, which says all the nominees work closely and continuously with communities across the breadth of the UK to inspire social change through art.

“The collaborative practices selected for this year’s shortlist also reflect the solidarity and community demonstrated in response to the pandemic,” it said.

It is now a tradition that the exhibition becomes a highlight of the UK City of Culture, which this year is being celebrated in Coventry. The exhibition has visited the previous two UK City of Culture winners: Derry in 2013, and Hull in 2017, as well as other towns and cities including Liverpool in 2007, Gateshead in 2011, Glasgow in 2015 and Margate in 2019. In 2022 it will be held at Tate Liverpool.

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

Gentle/Radical. The Turner Prize 2021 Exhibition. The Herbert Art Museum and Gallery, Coventry. Photograph by David Levene

As part of its preparations for City of Culture 2021, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum underwent a major redevelopment of its gallery spaces in anticipation of the Turner Prize exhibition. In parallel to the Turner Prize exhibition, Coventry will also host ‘Coventry Biennial 2021: Hyper-Possible’ from October 2021 across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, said: “This range of works is a testament to our vision for Coventry 2021, creating joyful artistic projects with a strong social conscience.

“It ties in with our belief that you can affect social change through art/culture, and this is more important now than ever before. The voices of our communities are at the centre of the year of culture co-creating with local global artists and will continue to be so throughout the rest of our tenure.”

Cooking Section’s work investigates the impact of humans on this planet. Photograph by Doug Peters – PA Wire

The Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art and the public are invited to join the debate through a series of community engagement events in Coventry. Visitors to the exhibition will also be encouraged to leave their feedback, which will be shared with the jury to help inform their discussions over the coming months.

The exhibition runs from 29 September – 12 January. Admission is free but tickets are required and can be booked through Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

The winner will be announced on 1 December 2021 at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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