London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Turner Prize: Windrush memorial artist Veronica Ryan wins for 'poetic' sculptures

Turner Prize: Windrush memorial artist Veronica Ryan wins for 'poetic' sculptures

Sculptor Veronica Ryan, who made the UK's first permanent public artwork to honour the Windrush generation, has won this year's Turner Prize.

For her Windrush memorial, Ryan placed giant sculptures of Caribbean fruits on a street in Hackney, east London.

"Power! Visibility!" she shouted after her name was announced at the ceremony.

Ryan, 66, became the oldest winner in the prestigious art award's 38-year history when she picked up the £25,000 cheque at the event in Liverpool.

"Better late than never," she said afterwards, telling BBC culture editor Katie Razzall it was "overwhelming" to win.

Ryan wore her late father's hat to the ceremony

Ryan was born on Monserrat before moving to the UK as a toddler, and her art uses the fruits, seeds and even volcanic ash from her home island.

Her winning works included the custard apple, breadfruit and soursop sculptures that were unveiled in Hackney in October 2021.

Her career has been "an incredible struggle" at times, she explained. "There were 20 years, almost, when no-one was paying attention to my work."

'Making work from rubbish'

But she credited her upbringing in a thrifty family for giving her an attitude that enabled her to make art in lean times with whatever materials she had to hand.

She thanked people "who've looked out for me when I wasn't visible and I was making work from rubbish", adding: "But actually some of the rubbish [works] are some of the most important works, I think."

Ryan's marble and bronze fruit sculptures were inspired by her memories of visiting Hackney's Ridley Road Market as a child

She also won for an exhibition in Bristol last year that featured cocoa pods, avocado stones and orange peel.

Crocheted bags made from fishing line were included, as well as tea-stained medical pillows that were made during the pandemic to reflect acts of care and nurturing.

Ryan wore her father's hat as she accepted the award and paid tribute to her family, including three late siblings, on stage. "They were fantastic people and I think they're looking at us right now, and they're proud," she told the audience.

Turner Prize judges praised Ryan's "really poetic" art, which uses "things that normally are thrown away or lost"

Ryan's Turner Prize exhibits include long crocheted sacks made from fishing lines, containing avocado stones, drift seeds and other items

Art critic Louisa Buck told BBC Radio 4's Front Row the moment Ryan won was "incredibly moving".

"It obviously means a huge amount, in her dad's hat up there, having been overlooked for a long, long time," she said.

"She is a great, great artist, and she really works with stuff, and she makes stuff speak."

Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson, who co-chaired this year's jury, said Ryan's work had "a quiet but very compelling presence".

"There's a kind of subtle autobiographical component to the work, and the jury feel that she's extending the language of modern contemporary sculpture in new and subtle ways," he said.

'A sense of beachcombing'

Ryan's was "perhaps the most abstract and elusive work" of this year's four nominees, he added.

"But it's quite insistent. And it's ultimately really poetic as a sculptural practice - but you're aware that this poetry is a result of working with the most humble forms, things that normally are thrown away or lost.

"There's a sense of beachcombing to how the materials are found, kept and brought back to life. And I think that is something that people can relate to."

The prize comes a year after Ryan was made an OBE for services to art. Farquharson said the Turner was not intended as a "lifetime achievement award", noting that her work had taken "a very interesting turn over the last year or two".

Ryan received the trophy from Frankie Goes To Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson at Liverpool's St George's Hall on Tuesday.

The three other nominees - Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard and Sin Wai Kin - will receive £10,000 each.

Before announcing the winner, Johnson referred to the fact that there were three women nominated, with the fourth contender being non binary.

"It's about time, after the years of misogyny in the art world where women were only good for baring their breasts and reclining on couches, it's about time they were nominated and held in high esteem," he told the audience.

The Turner Prize is Britain's most well-known - and often most controversial - award for contemporary art, and Liverpool is the first city outside London to host the ceremony and accompanying exhibition more than once.

Ryan is the first individual artist to pick up the award since 2018.

In 2019, all five nominees asked to share it rather than having one winner; in 2020, the pandemic meant it was replaced with 10 artist bursaries; and last year all the nominees were collectives who helped to "inspire social change through art".

"We are visible people!" Veronica Ryan accepts the award


Related Articles

London Daily
News roundup
Good day, everyone! We've got some gripping stories for you today, spanning from the Middle East to Europe, and even a touch of Hollywood.
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies