The manager of the Void gallery in Derry, Maoliosa Boyle, is heading off to London to one of the biggest events of 2012 in contemporary art - knowing that next year she’ll be a central part of it all.
The winner of the £25,000 Turner Prize will be announced on Monday night at Tate Britain, chosen from four artists whose work has been on view there in recent weeks. And of course next year it’s Derry’s turn to host the competition, with Maoliosa in the thick of it as one of the 2013 Turner Prize curators.
“It’s fantastic to be involved, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for Derry - it will be the first time the Turner Prize has left England,” Maoliosa told the Journal. “This is an event which generates massive interest on these islands and a lot of attention internationally.”
The decision of the Tate to appoint Derry-based curators for the prize next year is seen as a big vote of confidence in the local contemporary art galleries. Creating the Turner Prize show at Ebrington in 2013 will be Maoliosa, from Void in Patrick Street, and Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh from the local Centre of Contemporary Art, which is opening its new space in Artillery Street tomorrow (more about that on page 18).
Maoliosa has a degree from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and a Masters from the University of Ulster in Belfast, and has now been at Void for seven years. During that time the gallery has built up links with several Turner Prize winners and short-listed artists - who include Derry’s own Willie Doherty.
However Maoliosa now finds herself looking forward to curating two of the four short-listed artists for next year’s Turner Prize. She’ll be centrally involved in putting on the show at buildings 80 and 81 in Ebrington, the former soldiers’ sleeping quarters.
She said; “We’ve already been over in the Tate for the launch of the Turner show in October. We got a chance to shadow this year’s curators at that as they talked about it all to the media. It really was an eye-opener to see the level of interest from television, radio, papers and the media generally.
“Next year’s Turner Prize will be massive for Derry. It could change people’s views on the city and what it can do, and create a lot of other opportunities as a result. The prize is really well-known, seen as a bit controversial, and people will travel to view the exhibition. It really is a huge show, and a real coup for our City of Culture in 2013.”