Derry was at the forefront of the Turner Prize award ceremony last night as history was made.
All four artists who were nominated for the prestigious award came together and wrote to the judges asking that they were named joint winners in the interest of ‘commonality, multiplicity and solidarity’.
One of the artists involved was Helen Cammock. Her solo exhibition, titled The Long Note, was commissioned by and on display at the Void Gallery in Derry and was subsequently exhibited at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.
The Long Note is a film which explores the history and role of women in the civil rights movement in the city in 1968. It sets out to expand and complicate narratives around this period, placing women's voices at the fore. The film weaves together various archive materials, newly produced footage and a series of interviews Cammock made with women active in the movement, as well as those affected by it.
Mayor Michaela Boyle offered her congratulations to Helen and everyone at the Void Gallery for an historic win.
“What an incredible moment for our district to be involved in last night. Helen’s piece is something that will strike a chord with everyone as it reflects on the civil rights movement and, in particular, the role of women at that time.
“It is such a proud moment for the Void Gallery. This is the first time in this prestigious competition’s 35-year history that the award has been shared, and it’s a testament to Helen and her fellow artists that they have put their own best interests aside to come together with a powerful message of unity and solidarity.
“I want to offer my congratulations to Helen and to everyone at the Void Gallery. This is a moment that will go down in history, and I’m delighted that Derry has played a role in that.”
Speaking at the ceremony last night, Helen said that the artists felt they had to use their opportunity to send a message.
“At this time of political crisis in Britain and much of the world, when there is already so much that divides and isolates people and communities, we feel strongly motivated to use the occasion of the prize to make a collective statement in the name of commonality, multiplicity and solidarity – in art as in society.”
Helen shared the prize with fellow artists Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani. They had never met each other before being shortlisted, and will now get a quarter share of the £40,000 prize pot.