By Mike | 30th October 2009

Turner Prize winner announced

The whole point of the Turner prize is to bring attention to contemporary British art, and this year is certainly no exception.

The shortlist of artists this year included three women - Goshka Macuga, Runa Islam and Cathy Wilkes - whose works include shop dummies and cartoon characters. The Turner Prize has only been won by a woman three times since its inception in 1984.

However, in the end, the 2008 Turner prize with a cheque for £25,000 was won by the favourite, Mark Leckey, a London-based film artist. The jury issued a statement which read: 'With wit and originality, Leckey has found a variety of forms to communicate his fascination with visual culture'.

Leckey exclaimed: 'I didn't expect it. I am chuffed to bits. It's great to do something that has some kind of effect on British culture.'

Traditionally, The Turner Prize has is awarded to controversial works of art. The most famous winner is perhaps Damien Hirst. Last year's winner, Mark Wallinger, took the prize for his replica of Brian Haw's anti-war protest in Parliament Square, London. State Britain comprised a meticulous reconstruction of over 600 weather-beaten banners, photographs, peace flags and messages from well-wishers collected by Haw over his five year protest.

Other previous winners of the Turner Prize have included transvestite potter Grayson Perry, and Gilbert and George.

Tate Britain director and chairman of the judges, Dr Stephen Deuchar, explained the ethos of the Turner Prize: "It is not about giving good service medals to artists who have been around for a long time; it is about spotting emerging trends that are especially interesting," he said.

The very first Turner prize was won by an ex-convict who took up painting during a stay at Her Majesty's pleasure in Wormwood Scrubs. Malcolm Morley's art was subsequently featured as part of the Tate collection.

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