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Is it official, the 2020 Turner Prize edition has been cancelled because of the uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus. Indeed, the pandemic forced the Turner Prize organization to review its programs and also cancel the exhibition of the finalist artists. Instead of the prize, scholarships worth £ 10,000 will be established, each to be awarded to ten artists selected by the jury of the Turner Prize.

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We started this 2020 with a study of one of the four winners of the prestigious Turner Art Prize 2019, Helen Cammock (1970, lives and works in London and Brighton). Now, after thirty-six years, one of the most coveted and prestigious awards of contemporary art, coveted by all British artists born or residing in Great Britain, must review its programs. As declared by Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner Prize jury: “Gallery closures and social distancing measures are vitally important, but they are also causing huge disruption to the lives and livelihoods of artists. The practicalities of organising a Turner Prize exhibition are impossible in the current circumstances, so we have decided to help support even more artists during this exceptionally difficult time.” The move was broadly welcomed on social media with one contributor calling the initiative a “philanthropic and democratic move”. 

With this new initiative, instead of canonical four finalists who each year compete for the title and win prizes, Tate Britain will support ten artists. Those ten will be selected by a jury composed of Richard Birkett, general curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Sarah Munro, director of the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; Fatos Ustek, the director of the Liverpool Biennale; and the designer and curator Duro Olowu. The names of the artists who will win the scholarship will be announced in late June.

However, it should be noted that after many years the Turner Prize is facing a second great revolution. In fact, last year, the finalist artists Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani already wished to propose themselves to the jury as equal finalists. A revolution preceded by a letter that moved the jury and in which they declared: "in this moment of a political crisis in Great Britain and around the world, when there is already so much that divides and isolates people and communities, we feel strongly motivated to take advantage of the prize opportunity to make a collective declaration in the name of sharing and solidarity, in art as in society". 

Written by Elisabetta Rastelli

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.
 

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