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The Tate Britain has announced the four artists who have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2019: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani. Exploring themes of resistance, identity politics, and displacement, an exhibition of work by the artists will be held from 28 September 2019 to 12 January 2020 at Turner Contemporary in Margate, with a winner to be declared on 3 December 2019. Established in 1984, the prize is named after JMW Turner, aiming to promote public interest in contemporary British art, and is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the past twelve months. Perusing this year’s shortlist, Something Curated takes a closer look and 2019’s selected artists.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Self-proclaimed ‘private ear’, Abu Hamdan’s work investigates crimes that have been heard and not seen; exploring the processes of reconstruction, the complexity of memory and language as well as the urgency of human rights and advocacy. Perhaps most distinctive is Hamdan’s exploration of sound as an architectural element and the way he recreates particular situations through sound and performance. Hamdan was selected for his solo exhibition Earwitness Theatre at Chisenhale, and for the video installation Walled Unwalled and performance After SFX at Tate Modern, London.

Helen Cammock

Helen Cammock was shortlisted for her solo exhibition The Long Note at Void, Derry~Londonderry and IMMA, Dublin. The jury praised the timely and urgent quality of Cammock’s work which explores social histories through film, photography, print, text and performance. Creating layered narratives that allow for the cyclical nature of history to be revealed, The Long Note looks at the history and the role of women in the civil rights movement in Derry Londonderry. The work highlights how the complexities of the politics of Northern Ireland have overshadowed the social history of the region and the variety of political positions taken by women during that time.

Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo uninhibitedly pushes the boundaries of materials, particularly in his dynamic paintings. His work incorporates a variety of techniques and media including painting, drawing, performance, sculpture and sound, often using recycled materials and fragments from his studio. Murillo’s work reflects on his own experience of displacement and the social fallout of globalisation. The artist was selected for his participation in the 10th Berlin Biennale, his solo exhibition Violent Amnesia at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge and solo exhibition at the chi K11 art museum Shanghai.

Tai Shani

The Turner Prize jury noted the compelling nature of Shani’s on-going project Dark Continent, particularly the work’s ability to combine historical texts with contemporary references and issues. Developed over four years, it takes inspiration from a 15th century feminist text, Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies. Shani uses theatrical installations, performances and films to create her own allegorical city of women populated by fantastical characters, transporting the viewer to another time and place.



Feature image: Oscar Murillo, Untitled (news), 2017-18 (via Kettle’s Yard)

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