LONDON (Reuters) – Irish-born artist Duncan Campbell won Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize on Monday for an “essay film” which draws on an array of sources, including African art, the Irish Republican Army, dance and Marxism.
The annual award for contemporary art was presented to Campbell by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, the star of ‘12 Years a Slave’, in a televised ceremony at Tate Britain, which oversees the often controversial prize.
The Turner winner gets 25,000 pounds ($39,358) with 5,000 pounds for each of the three runners-up – James Richards of Wales, Tris Vonna-Michell of England and Ciara Phillips, a Canadian living in Scotland.
Campbell, who also lives in Scotland, said winning was a “validation” of his work and added that the prize money would make a great difference to his life.
“The economics of what I do are not as great as say, a painter, so it does make a difference in terms of me being able to do what I do,” he said.
Campbell is known for works tackling power structures and other complex issues, such as the relationship between Britain and Ireland.
His winning entry, “It For Others”, uses a series of old and new footage, including a 1971 image of Joe McCann, sometimes called “the Che Guevara of the IRA”, to show how images can be turned into commodities of mass culture.
The picture of McCann, who was shot dead by British soldiers less than a year after the photo was taken, became part of pop culture to the point where the image was emblazoned on T-shirts and Christmas stockings.