Veronica Ryan wins the 2022 Turner Prize

Veronica Ryan wins the 2022 Turner Prize

Updated: 1 month, 21 days, 9 hours, 39 minutes, 59 seconds ago

Veronica Ryan, a New York and Bristol-based sculptor who has used handmade works to address themes of history, belonging and identity, was named the winner of the 2022 Turner Prize earlier today.

The result was announced tonight at St George Hall in Liverpool, a stone’s throw from Tate Liverpool – home to this year’s Turner Prize exhibition. Tate director Maria Balshaw presented Ryan with the award alongside musician Holly Johnson, lead singer of the 1980s English synthpop band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, in a ceremony broadcast live on the BBC.

Veronica Ryan, Turner Prize Exhibition. Installation view at Tate Liverpool, 2022 © Tate Photography

(Image credit: Matt Greenwood)

Born in 1956 in Plymouth, then the capital of the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat, Ryan continued her artistic training in the UK (at SOAS, Slade, Bath Academy or St Albans College of Art and Design), where she was inspired by the work of Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois and Barbara Hepworth.

A scholarship from the Slade enabled her to visit Nigeria, which inspired her interest in adapting everyday consumables into her artwork. You can draw a continuous line from this visit to Ryan’s best-known installation, a memorial to the Windrush generation unveiled in 2021 outside London’s Hackney Town Hall. Ryan’s giant custard apple, breadfruit and soursop, rendered in marble and bronze, pay tribute to the people who arrived in the UK from the Caribbean between the late 1940s and 1970s.

Veronica Ryan, Turner Prize Exhibition. Installation view at Tate Liverpool, 2022 © Tate Photography

(Image credit: Matt Greenwood)

“I chose those particular fruits and vegetables because my mom ate them when she was pregnant with me,” Ryan explains in a video made for her Turner Prize nomination. “I like the idea that there’s this whole side of parenting and healing and mother-daughter relationships and intergenerational information that gets passed down.”

In addition to the Windrush Monument, it was Ryan’s exhibition at Bristol’s Spike Island contemporary arts center between May and September 2021 that earned her the Turner Prize nomination. Entitled ‘Along a Spectrum’, the exhibition explored environmental and socio-political concerns, personal stories, history and displacement, and the psychological implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2022 Turner Prize Winner, Veronica Ryan

(Image credit: © Holly Falconer)

Key to the exhibit was Ryan’s research into the history of Montserrat and her attempt to identify early culture before the arrival of Europeans. Among the works of art were large groups of soursop and cocoa pods, cast in clay and glazed with volcanic ash.

In awarding the 2022 Turner Prize to Ryan, the jury recognized the ‘personal and poetic way in which she expands the language of sculpture’. She was selected from a shortlist of four artists, which also included Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard and Sin Wai Kin.

Veronica Ryan, Turner Prize Exhibition. Installation view at Tate Liverpool, 2022 © Tate Photography

(Image credit: © Tate Photography, Matt Greenwood)

Ryan accepted the award with joyous exclamations of ‘Strength’ and ‘Visibility’, acknowledging her family – in particular her father, whose hat she wore at the awards ceremony, and her surviving siblings, Patricia, Josephine and David.

The award jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, and Helen Legg, Director of Tate Liverpool. Other members include Irene Aritsizábal, head of curatorial and public practice at Gateshead’s Baltic Center for Contemporary Art; Christine Eyene, Lecturer in Contemporary Art at Liverpool John Moores University; Robert Leckie, Director of Spike Island; and Anthony Spira, director of Milton Keynes’ MK Gallery.

The Turner Prize 2022 exhibition runs until 19 March 2023 at Tate Liverpool. tate.org.uk (opens in new tab)