05 August 2021, The Tablet

Oscar Murillo - teaching the world to draw

Oscar Murillo - teaching the world to draw

A detail from the Frequencies installation
Courtesy of the artist and Frequencies Foundation, Photo by Tim Bowditch & Reinis Lismanis


Turner Prize winner Oscar Murillo’s latest show is taking place in the Catholic secondary school where he was a pupil

In 2019 the Turner Prize jury made a surprise announcement: there would be no overall winner, as the four nominees – Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Tai Shani and Oscar Murillo – had requested that, at a time of division, the prize money be shared between them as a statement of solidarity. Whose idea was this? It was presented as a joint decision, but I suspect it may have originated with Murillo, the Colombian-born British artist whose multidisciplinary work – be it painting, installation or perform­ance – has always been rooted in a passionate egalitarianism informed by his own family’s life experiences.

Since his student days, Murillo has been preoccupied with the role of art in a liberal democracy. His MA dissertation at the Royal College, titled “Open to the Public”, critiqued New Labour’s bien pensant promotion of the “creative industries” as ways of “re-establishing a sense of community, of identity, of civic pride”. It dared to ask the awkward question: “How important will the arts be to a public struggling to survive in deprived areas of Britain?”

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £30 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login