An exhibition of the shortlisted Turner Prize nominees opened on England's south coast on Wednesday, with four artists vying for the most prestigious – and often controversial – award in British art.
The show in Eastbourne showcases work by Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim and Barbara Walker, who are in the running for the £25,000 (US$30,000) top prize.
The winner will be announced on December 5.
Previous victors include now-household names such as duo Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor, Rachel Whiteread, Antony Gormley, Chris Ofili, Steve McQueen and Damien Hirst.
The annual award seeks to encourage debate around new advances in contemporary art and is given to a visual artist based or born in Britain.
But that debate has often spilled over into controversy. Ofili, for example, won in 1998 for incorporating elephant dung into his paintings.
Hirst in 1995 exhibited pieces including a rotting cow's head, while Tracey Emin's 1999 entry "My Bed" – an unmade double bed with stained sheets surrounded by soiled underwear, condoms, slippers and empty drink bottles – attracted huge attention.
Jury chair Alex Farquharson, the director of the Tate Britain gallery in London, praised this year's entrants' "remarkably varied approaches to creating art that actively responds to and reflects the world around us – engaging with the social, economic, cultural and political issues of our time".
Joe Hill, who runs the Towner Eastbourne gallery, said the exhibition was "a unique opportunity for our town to promote engagement with contemporary art".
This year's entries cover themes such as "borders, bodies, nationhood and exclusion" (Darling); "the realities of working in multiple roles as an artist and mother" (Leung); and social support in challenging times (Pilgrim).
Walker's entry invites the public to "consider the true consequences of political decision-making, the complexities of diasporic identity and the struggle for legitimacy," according to the competition.
Last year's winner was Veronica Ryan, whose sculptures of tropical fruit on the streets of east London focused on the contribution of migrants from the Caribbean. (AFP)