Lubaina Himid Wins the 2017 Turner Prize as Age Limit Is Lifted

Though wildly accomplished, the Zanzibar-born artist has only recently found gallery representation.

Lubaina Himid. Image courtesy of Tate.
Lubaina Himid. Image courtesy of Tate.

Lubaina Himid has taken home the 2017 Turner Prize. At the award ceremony on Tuesday, December 5, the artist thanked those who “gave her sustenance during the wilderness years.”

This year’s Turner Prize had been in the news before the shortlist was announced. In March, the Tate announced that the rules had been adjusted to allow artists of any age to be considered by the judges. Since 1991 only artists under 50 could be contenders, a measure that was thought of as a way of preventing it from becoming a lifetime achievement award.

The Turner is one of the most prestigious prizes for contemporary art, awarded annually to an artist living or working in Britain for an exceptional exhibition or project mounted during the previous year. As the winner, Himid receives £25,000 in prize money. This year’s runners-up, Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, and Rosalind Nashashibi, each get £5,000.

Lubaina Himid, A Fashionable Marriage (1987) at the Turner Prize 2017 exhibition, Ferens Art Gallery Hull. Loaned from Hollybush Gardens. Photo David Levene.

Lubaina Himid, A Fashionable Marriage (1987) at the Turner Prize 2017 exhibition, Ferens Art Gallery Hull. Loaned from Hollybush Gardens. Photo David Levene.

Born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Himid studied theater design at Wimbledon College of Art and then did an MA in cultural history at the Royal College of Art. She is professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire. Her recent solo exhibitions include ones at Spike Island in Bristol and at Modern Art Oxford. A site-specific pavilion for the Folkestone Triennial this year also impressed.

She has shown at the Studio Museum in New York and represented Britain at the 5th Havana Biennial. She has only recently been represented by a gallery, London’s Hollybush Gardens.

The 2017 Turner Prize jurors were Dan Fox, the co-editor of Frieze; the art critic Martin Herbert; Mason Leaver-Yap of the Walker Art Center’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection in Minneapolis and associate curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin; and Emily Pethick, the director of the Showroom in London.

The 2017 award’s accompanying exhibition features the work of this year’s four shortlisted artists and is staged at Ferens Art Gallery in Hull (until January 7, 2018), a highlight of the Yorkshire port city’s year in the limelight as the UK City of Culture.

Next year’s Turner Prize show will take place at Turner Contemporary, in Margate, on the southern coast of England.


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