Hot on the heels of picking up the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture last month, the Macclesfield-born, London-based artist Helen Marten was tonight awarded the 2016 Turner Prize.
Marten was presented with the £25,000 prize by the novelist Ben Okri at a ceremony at Tate Britain that was broadcast live on the BBC News channel.
A clearly emotional Marten gave a serious and sober acceptance speech, talking about the importance of her “very creative and emotional upbringing” in shaping her approach to life and art.
Picking up on earlier comments by Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota and Okri, who both alluded to the dangers of becoming more fearful and insular in our world view, she struck a political note as she addressed the position of artists in the current global climate.
She said: “Our global outlook is becoming ever more precarious, from the stripping of arts and creative writing programmes in schools to the ever-prominence of alt-right groups gaining a very visible and frightening political platform for xenophobic, homophobic and racist outlooks on the world.
“As artists today and people in this environment we are deeply, deeply privileged to be sitting here with a community whose lifeblood is diversity and exuberance.”
Praising shortlisted artists Michael Dean, Anthea Hamilton, and Josephine Pryde, she said she “could not think of a more brilliant and exciting shortlist of artists to be part of”.
Asked by BBC News what she felt the impact of winning the prize would be, Marten responded: “I hope it has no effect on me whatsoever and I can continue in my own hermetic bubble.”
The 2016 Turner Prize exhibition continues at Tate Britain, London until 2 January 2017. www.tate.org.uk