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Lubaina Himid awarded Britain’s Turner Prize, oldest artist ever to win

Artist Lubaina Himid speaks after being announced as the winner of the Turner Prize in Hull, Britain December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples

By Mark Hanrahan

LONDON (Reuters) – Lubaina Himid, a 63-year-old artist whose creations include dinner plates painted with vomiting aristocrats, became the oldest person ever and the first black woman to win Britain’s most prestigious art award – the Turner Prize – on Thursday.

Tanzanian-born Himid beat other short-listed artists including British painter Hurvin Anderson, German painter Andrea B├╝ttner and British filmmaker Rosalind Nashashibi.

The judges praised Himid for her “uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today,” Alex Farquharson, director of organizers Tate Britain, said in a statement.

In her acceptance speech, Himid thanked the critics and curators who had supported her during what she described as “the wilderness years.”

In the past, the prize has been viewed as a vehicle for younger artists, but it has moved in a new direction this year, with two nominees over 40 and the other two short-listed artists in their 50s and 60s.

The organizers have now scrapped a rule introduced in 1991 that required nominated artists to be under the age of 50.

The annual award for contemporary art was presented to Himid by electronic music star Goldie, in a televised ceremony held in Hull Minster church in the northeastern English city of Hull.

The Turner Prize award money is 40,000 pounds ($54,000), with 25,000 pounds going to the winner and 5,000 pounds each for the other short-listed artists.

Founded in 1984 and named after English 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, the prize is the UK’s most high-profile visual arts award. During the 1990s, it helped to launch the careers of some of the stars of the Young British Artists movement such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

An exhibition in Hull’s Ferens Gallery showcasing the nominees’ work, which organizers said has been visited by over 90,000 people since opening in September, runs until Jan. 7.

($1 = 0.7439 pounds)

(Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Oatis)

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