Romani artist Delaine Le Bas nominated for the Turner Prize!

24 April 2024
Delaine Le Bas

Tate Britain has today announced that Romani artist Delaine Le Bas is one of the four artists who have been shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2024, its 40th year.

Delaine will join the other three nominees, Pio Abad, Claudette Johnson and Jasleen Kaur, in having their work exhibited at Tate Britain from 25 September 2024 to 16 February 2025.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at Tate Britain on 3 December 2024.

Nominated for her presentation Incipit Vita Nova. Here Begins The New Life/A New Life Is Beginning at Secession, Vienna. Le Bas transformed the gallery into an immersive performative environment hung with painted fabrics and filled with theatrical costumes and sculptures. Drawing on the rich cultural history of the Roma people and her interest in mythologies, the artist addressed themes of death, loss and renewal, inspired by the passing of her grandmother.

Delaine Le Bas
Courtesy of Tate Britain

Noting Le Bas’s boldness at this moment in her practice, the jury were impressed by the energy and immediacy present in this exhibition, and its powerful expression of making art in a time of chaos.

Delaine Le Bas
Delaine Le Bas, courtesy of Tate Britain

The Travellers’ Times caught up with her at the Tetley Art Gallery in Leeds in 2017, where she was helping to launch the Leeds GATE ‘Feet on the Ground’ project with a performance artwork and installation called ‘On the Reservation’. Delaine told us about her “strange and interesting journey” to becoming an important and recognised professional artist.

“It’s been a strange and interesting journey. I was really interested in fashion and clothing, that’s why I went to art school, but I ended up being an artist, although clothing and costuming is also part of what I do as well,” says Delaine.

Delaine Le Bas
Courtesy of Tate Britain

The eldest daughter out of five brothers and sisters, Delaine was the one that liked going to school.

“I actually liked going to school which was difficult because I am the only one out of five of us that finished school. And then I had ideas about going to Art College.” says Delaine. It was at art school that Delaine met her husband Damian Le Bas  – also a Traveller.

Damian Le Bas, a British artist associated with the Outsider Art (or "Art Brut") label, as well a leading exponent of the "Roma Revolution" in art, sadly passed away in December 2017. 

Delaine Le Bas is also the mother of Romani author - and former Travellers' Times Editor - Damian Le Bas.

Delaine says her art is about identity and politics. “Feminism is in there as well,” she says. “It’s also about racism and the different forms that takes, how complex it is, and about where different people stand in society. It’s all wrapped up together and very often a lot of what I am doing has got all of those themes in it.”

Delaine Le Bas
Delaine Le Bas performs ‘On the Reservation’ © Mike Doherty

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner Prize jury said: “It is an honour to announce such a fantastic shortlist of artists and I cannot wait to see their exhibition at Tate Britain this autumn. All four of them make work that is full of life. They show how contemporary art can fascinate, surprise and move us, and how it can speak powerfully of complex identities and memories, often through the subtlest of details. In the Turner Prize’s 40th year, this shortlist proves that British artistic talent is as rich and vibrant as ever.”

Delaine Le Bas
Courtesy of Tate Britain

One of the world’s best-known prizes for the visual arts, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984, the prize is named after the radical painter JMW Turner (1775-1851) and is awarded each year to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work. The Turner Prize winner will be awarded £25,000 with £10,000 awarded to the other shortlisted artists.

The members of the Turner Prize 2024 jury are Rosie Cooper, Director of Wysing Arts Centre; Ekow Eshun, writer, broadcaster and curator; Sam Thorne, Director General and CEO at Japan House London; and Lydia Yee, curator and art historian. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain.

TT News

(Lead image: Delaine Le Bas 'On the Reservation' 2017 (c) Mike Doherty)


Delaine Le Bas
Tate Britain, courtesy of Tate Britain