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Antiwar art makes Turner list

May 09, 2007|From the Associated Press

LONDON — An antiwar installation that labels the leaders of Britain and the United States as "baby killers" is among four works competing for Britain's best-known -- and most provocative -- art award, the Turner Prize.

Mark Wallinger's "State Britain" reproduces the posters displayed by Brian Haw, who has camped outside Britain's Parliament for six years.

Haw began his round-the-clock vigil in June 2001, initially to protest sanctions against Iraq, and his encampment grew to include rainbow flags, wooden crosses, teddy bears, polemical posters and graphic images of children maimed or killed by U.S. weapons.

Haw has successfully fought government attempts to remove him, but most of his paraphernalia was removed by police last year. Wallinger meticulously reproduced Haw's weather-beaten posters, photographs and messages from well-wishers for an installation at a London gallery.

The Turner Prize judges said Wallinger's installation "demonstrates art's unique ability to engage with contemporary political issues" and managed to "communicate an unpalatable political truth."

Other works on the short list: Zarina Bhimji's photographs of her homeland, Uganda; Nathan Coley's candy cane-striped models of religious buildings; and a wood and chicken wire construction by Mike Nelson.

The Turner Prize, named for 19th century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, was established in 1984 to honor young artists.

The winner of the $50,000 award will be announced on Dec. 3.

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