Veronica Ryan wins 2022 Turner Prize for her work, including Windrush tribute

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Veronica Ryan, who created the UK’s first permanent artwork to honor the Windrush generation, has won the 2022 Turner Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious awards for the visual arts.

Ryan, 66, becomes the oldest artist to win the award. She was nominated for the Windrush sculpture, which was unveiled in Hackney, London, last year, and for her solo exhibition Along a Spectrum at Spike Island, Bristol.

Ryan – who received an OBE last year – was born in Plymouth, Montserrat and came to the UK as a child in the 1950s. She creates sculptural objects and installations using containers, compartments and combinations of natural and fabricated forms to refer to themes such as displacement, fragmentation, alienation and loss.

Related: Veronica Ryan is a sensational choice as the Turner Prize winner

The jury awarded the prize for “the personal and poetic way in which she extends the language of sculpture”. They also praised the noticeable change in its use of space, color and scale in both galleries and civic spaces.

Collecting the award, Ryan thanked his family. “Thank you very much,” she said. “I’m wearing my dad’s hat, my dad would be so happy he called me big eyes when I was little. It’s fabulous. Thank you mom and dad. My whole family. My family is here. My siblings .

“And to my brothers and sisters who did not survive. And I will name them: Patricia, Josephine, David. They were fantastic people. And I think they’re watching us right now. And they are proud. And I want to thank everyone.

“I have a few people who, in my career, took care of me, when I was not visible. When I picked up trash. I picked up trash for several years. But in fact, some of the garbage is among the most important works, I think.

“Thank you to the other artists. It’s a fantastic facility. We all – everyone did a fantastic job. I just want to say thank you to everyone, it’s wonderful.

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and co-chair of the jury, said Ryan was “a sculptor taking the language of sculpture and extending it in new directions”. “She has a long career that goes back to the 80s and it’s interesting to see that evolution but also that blossoming now,” he said.

He said the jury had been very impressed with the direction Ryan’s work had taken over the past two years and paid tribute to the “subtle poetics” of his work.

“It’s a slow-burn job. What becomes evident is this elusive treatment of themes of survival, care and she even used the word trauma. Valuing things, remembering things. It’s about nature and lived experience,” he said.

He spoke about the importance of the award returning to Liverpool. “It’s very important for the city. With the pandemic, with economic city centres, Liverpool has gone through many social and economic challenges in recent years. Bringing the Turner Prize back here is a mark of optimism and regeneration.

Musician Holly Johnson announced the winner of the £25,000 prize at a ceremony at St George’s Hall in the city on Wednesday evening. Established in 1984 and named after the radical British painter JMW Turner, it aims to promote public debate on new developments in contemporary British art.

Ryan’s Windrush commission consisted of three Caribbean fruit sculptures – Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and soursop (Annonaceae) – made of bronze and marble. The artist has used seeds as a metaphor for the spread and spread of viruses and pandemics.

When nominated, the jury also praised the “exquisite sensuality and tactility” of Along a Spectrum, which explores the ecology, history, dislocation and psychological impact of the pandemic.

The four nominated artists come from different generations and use a variety of media, including photography, sculpture, moving image, installation, performance, sound and spoken word, but they are linked by a number of thematic intersections. , including identity, migration and sense of belonging. . “All pushed the boundaries of material exploration by unraveling the complexities of body, nature and identity,” the jury said.

Other shortlisted artists – who each received £10,000 – included Ingrid Pollard, who moved to the UK from Guyana aged four. Pollard, now 69, was nominated for her solo exhibition Carbon Slowly Turning at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. Using primarily photography but also sculpture, film and sound, her work questions our relationship with the natural world and interrogates ideas such as Britishness, race and sexuality.

Heather Phillipson, 44, has been nominated for her solo exhibition Rupture No 1: Blowtorching the Bitten Peach at Tate Britain and The End, her fourth plinth sculpture in Trafalgar Square featuring a dollop of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a drone and a fly. Her practice involves collisions of different materials, media and gestures in what she calls “quantum thought experiments”.

Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin has been nominated for his involvement with British Art Show 9 and his solo presentation at the Blindspot Gallery at London’s Frieze art fair. They tell stories through performance, moving image, writing and print.

This year was the first time the exhibition and ceremony had returned to Liverpool since 2007, when Tate Liverpool became the first gallery outside of London to host it, helping to kick off Liverpool’s year in as European Capital of Culture.

Related: “My parents’ trauma is my trauma” – Veronica Ryan on making the first Windrush monument

The 2022 jury members were Irene Aristizábal, Head of Curatorial and Public Practice at Baltic; Christine Eyene, Lecturer in Contemporary Art at Liverpool John Moores University; Robert Leckie, director of Spike Island; and Anthony Spira, director of the MK Gallery. The jury was co-chaired by Farquharson and Helen Legg, director of Tate Liverpool.

Last year’s Turner Prize went to Array Collective, a group of 11 artists from across the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland. The 2020 Turner Prize has been suspended due to the Covid pandemic.

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