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Winner of Turner Prize announced in Sussex

Jesse Darling was announced as the winner of the Turner Prize <i>(Image: David Parry/PA Wire)</i>
Jesse Darling was announced as the winner of the Turner Prize (Image: David Parry/PA Wire)

An exhibition featuring crowd control barriers, rollercoaster rails and tattered Union Flag bunting, has won this year’s Turner Prize.

Oxford-born artist Jesse Darling received the prestigious art award at Winter Garden in Eastbourne.

Previous winners include pottery maker and contemporary artist Sir Grayson Perry, film director and visual artist Sir Steve McQueen and artist Damien Hirst.

Jesse’s artwork aimed to reflect modern life in Britain and previously told the BBC about being inspired by austerity, Brexit and the government’s immigration policy.

Speaking after his win, Jesse, 41, said that art “is something that a lot of the public can get behind” and explained that it helps develop other skills.

Jesse, who lives in Berlin, also claimed that former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher lessened the teaching of art in schools because it was not “economically productive”.

He said: “She sort of paved the way for the greatest trick that the Tories ever pulled, which was to convince the working people of Britain that study, self-expression, and what the broadsheet supplements describe as culture is only for particular kinds of people from particular socio-economic backgrounds - and I just want to say don’t buy in; I’m talking to the British public, don’t buy in, it’s for everyone.”

At the end of his acceptance speech, Jesse pulled the Palestinian flag out of his coat pocket and waved it amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza.

The Argus: Jesse Darling bent a full-sized roller coaster into the skeletal form of a woolly mammoth for one of his exhibitions. Picture: Ben Westoby
The Argus: Jesse Darling bent a full-sized roller coaster into the skeletal form of a woolly mammoth for one of his exhibitions. Picture: Ben Westoby

Jesse Darling bent a full-sized roller coaster into the skeletal form of a woolly mammoth for one of his exhibitions. Picture: Ben Westoby

Jesse’s exhibitions are described by the Turner Prize as conveying a “familiar yet delirious world” that “unsettles perceived notions of labour, class, Britishness and power”.

One of his artworks bent a full-sized roller coaster into the skeletal form of a woolly mammoth.

He beat Ghislaine Leung, who had an exhibition featuring water pouring into the exhibition space through an opening in the ceiling; Rory Pilgrim, who delivered a live performance at Cadogan Hall in London; and Barbara Walker, who shone a light on families affected by the Windrush scandal.

The award goes to an artist born or based in the UK for an outstanding exhibition or presentation of their work in the past year.

The prize will mark its 40th anniversary next year and return to Tate Britain for the first time since 2018.

An exhibition of the shortlisted artists is at Towner Eastbourne until April 14 next year.