For the first time, the 2021 Turner Prize nominees are made up entirely of collectives who, organisers say, have helped to ‘inspire social change through art’ and who have continued to work in the community throughout the pandemic and become more relevant as a result. Prize chair and Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said the nominations are intended to reflect the present mood in contemporary British art.
The five 2021 nominees are Array Collective, Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.), Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical and Project Arts Works. Their projects have included artwork in support of law changes in Northern Ireland, a 24-hour fundraising rave for queer, trans and intersex black and people of colour, the use of food to help understand the workings of the world, a lockdown doorstep neighbourhood story-telling campaign and work by a group of neurodiverse artists. Cooking Sections appeared in Artmag.co.uk in September 2017 with their work on the Isle of Skye with Atlas Arts, CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones.
The 2020 Turner Prize did not happen at all due to coronavirus and was instead replaced by a fund for struggling artists, while in 2019, the prize pot was split four ways at the request of the nominees, who said they wanted to make a “collective statement” at a time when there was “already so much that divides and isolates people and communities”.
An exhibition of the nominees’ work will be held at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry (29 Sep – 12 Jan) as part of the UK City of Culture 2021 and the winner will be announced on 1st December.