A noticeably more mature Turner prize shortlist has been announced after organisers abandoned age restrictions and acknowledged that artists of any age can have breakthrough moments.
The ages of the four artists range from 43 to 62 and include two painters after a decision was taken to drop the upper age limit of 50.
Emily Pethick, director of Showroom and one of the judges, said: “It is just clear when an artist is really in their moment and that is what we wanted to reflect. We felt these artists were doing exciting and fresh work that needed to be recognised.”
The oldest artist competing for this year’s prize, to be staged at Ferens art gallery in Hull, is Zanzibar-born Lubaina Himid. She lives and works in Preston where she is professor of contemporary art at the University of Central Lancashire.
Himid, 62, makes paintings, prints, drawings and installations that celebrate black creativity and challenge institutional invisibility.
At her solo show at Modern Art Oxford last year, she featured paintings from a decade-long series for which she painted over pages of the Guardian, accusing the “liberal media” of “simultaneously visualising and making invisible black peoples lives.”
Himid claims the Guardian: “No doubt in the interests of good design and witty narrative” uses black people in a subtle way, “which could be said to undermine their identity”.
The youngest artist is Croydon-born Rosalind Nashashibi, 43, who works primarily in film. She is shortlisted for an exhibition in California and her participation in this year’s Documenta contemporary art festival. Turner judges said they were impressed by “the depth and maturity” of her work.
They highlighted two films: Electrical Gaza 2015, which combines Nashashibi’s observations of domestic life in Gaza with animated sequences; and Vivian’s Garden 2017, which tells the story of two artists, mother and daughter, who live in the Guatemalan jungle with Mayan villagers as guardians and maids.
The Birmingham-born painter Hurvin Anderson, whose works feature references to his Jamaican heritage, is perhaps the best-known artist on the list.
He is shortlisted for solo exhibitions at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada. Turner judges described him as “an outstanding British painter whose art speaks to our current political moment with questions about identity and belonging”.
The fourth artist is Stuttgart-born Andrea Büttner,45, who lives and works in London and Berlin. Her diverse practice includes printmaking, sculpture, painting, film and collaborative projects, such as working with nuns to explore religion, morality and ethics.
The judges said she had a “unique approach to collaboration”, investigating subjects such as shame, poverty and vulnerability.
William Hill bookmakers have deemed Himid the 6/4 favourite to win and Büttner a 4/1 outsider.
Works by the four artists will be displayed at the Ferens as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations, which will run from 26 September until 7 January 2018.
The winner – who will receive a 25,000 prize and join a list of previous winners whose names include Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread and last year Helen Marten – will be announced at a ceremony broadcast live on the BBC on 5 December.