‘Earwitness’ to Syria conflict up for art’s Turner Prize

May 1, 2019

LONDON (AP) — An artist who interviewed former inmates of a notorious Syrian prison for a sound installation is among finalists for the prestigious Turner Prize.

Beirut-based Lawrence Abu Hamdan — who calls himself a “private ear” rather than a private eye — spoke to survivors of the Syrian government’s Saydnaya prison for an exhibition titled Earwitness Theater.

He was nominated for the 25,000-pound ($33,000) prize on Wednesday alongside London-based artists Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani.

The winner will be announced in December.

Founded in 1984, the Turner Prize helped launch the careers of Damien Hirst and other members of the “Young British Artists” generation, and often sparks debate about the value of modern art.

Previous winners include potter Grayson Perry and “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen.