Montserrat-born sculptor Victoria Ryan has been announced as the winner of the 2022 Turner Prize, one of the world’s top visual art awards. Her work explores themes of displacement and loss through organic sculptures frequently embodying soft, vegetal forms and made from organic and recycled materials. At sixty-six, Ryan, who emigrated to the UK in the 1950s as a child, is the oldest artist ever to receive the honor. She was nominated for her 2021 solo exhibition “Along a Spectrum” at Spike Island, Bristol, and for her monument to the Windrush generation. Unveiled in Hackney, London, last year, the sculpture is the UK’s first permanent cenotaph commemorating Caribbean immigrants who arrived to the country between 1948 and 1971.
Sponsored by Tate Britain, the Turner Prize was established in 1984 and is named after the pathbreaking nineteenth-century British landscape painter J. M. W. Turner. The award is meant to foster public interest in and dialogue about new developments in contemporary British art. Ryan was named the winner of this year’s iteration at a ceremony taking place December 7 at St. George’s hall, Liverpool. She will receive £25,000 ($32,500), while Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, and Sin Wai Kin, the remaining shortlisted artists, will receive £10,000 ($13,010) apiece. With three of the nominated artists identifying as women and one as nonbinary, 2022 marked the first time since 1997 that the shortlist excluded men entirely. Jonathan Jones, writing in The Guardian, declared it “the first Turner Prize in years worth caring about.”
The prize jury collectively noted that they had selected her as the winner for the “personal and poetic way she extends the language of sculpture,” lauding her expanded use of space, scale, and color in both galleries and public arenas. Ryan in her acceptance speech thanked her family and earliest supporters, joking that the award had arrived to her “better late than never.”
An exhibition featuring the work of all four artists is on view at Tate Liverpool through March 19, 2023.