UCL Slade School of Fine Art alumna Veronica Ryan has won this year’s Turner Prize for her major solo exhibition exploring a range of environmental and socio-political concerns, and her sculpture commissioned to celebrate the Windrush generation.
Ryan, who studied at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art from 1978-1980, was nominated for her 2021 exhibition Along a Spectrum at Spike Island, an art gallery in Bristol, and her Windrush sculpture commission unveiled in Hackney last year.
The artwork, Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and Soursop (Annonaceae) , is the UK’s first permanent artwork to honour those who moved to the UK from the Caribbean after 1948 .
jury noted that they awarded the prize to Ryan for personal and poetic way she extends the language of sculpture.
At the age of 66, Ryan is the oldest person to win the Turner Prize. She also received an OBE last year for services to art.
Kieren Reed, Director of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, said: "On behalf of everyone at the Slade School of Fine Art, I’d like to convey my most heartfelt congratulations to Veronica Ryan for this richly deserved recognition. We are immensely proud to see her talent and vision and celebrated."
Ryan was born in Plymouth, Montserrat, and came to the UK as a child in the 1950s. She is best known for making sculpture evocative of objects and forms from the natural world , and her recent practice combines found and usually forgotten objects and crafted materials, underpinned by interconnecting themes such as displacement, healing and loss.
Her solo exhibition Along a Spectrum explores perception and spectrums of pathologies, personal narratives, history, and the wider psychological implications of the Covid pandemic. It included forms cast in clay and bronze; sewn, tea-stained and dyed fabrics; and bright neon crocheted fishing line pouches filled with a variety of seeds, fruit stones and skins.
The Turner Prize is one of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world, and aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. An exhibition of Ryan’s work and of the three other shortlisted artists is at Tate Liverpool until 19 March 2023.