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Artists Presented Turner Prize Jury With Their Official Request to Split Prize Morning of Ceremony

The Turner Prize quartet of winners — Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Tai Shani, and Oscar Murillo — say they “hijacked” the prestigious award with their request to split the prize, the Guardian reported.

According to the article, the four winners suggested the idea to Tate Britain, which oversees the prize, this past summer and it was reviewed by the organization’s trustees. The jurors met on the day of the announcement, as they usually do, when they were officially presented with the artists’ letter requesting the prize be split. The jurors accepted and the artists’ offer, knowing that ignoring the artists’ rhetoric of “commonality, multiplicity and solidarity” would be unpopular.

In an interview with the Guardian, Cammock called the move “a considered hijack.” Shani added that the move was “actually quite a bureaucratic process.”

“We didn’t have very high hopes of it going through,” Shani continued. “This idea of Mutiny on the Bounty – that wasn’t quite how it panned out.”

“If any of us had individually won, I would have felt I was betraying my own work and ideas — if we are indeed really talking about solidarity,” Murillo added.

Hamdan concluded: “If anyone gets what we do as individual artists, they will get why this decision had to be made.”

Read the full story here.

Correction 12/6/19 11:36am EST: This article has been amended to reflect that while the jury was presented with the artists’ official letter on Tuesday, December 3, they had been informed about the request to split the prize by  Tate Britain’s director and chairman of the Turner Prize jury, Alex Farquharson, in advance of their decision.

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