As many of you know I've spent the last eight months teaching my Grandad how to become an artist in an attempt to tackle ageism, since then he has learnt how to make work and how an artist can be activist. Grandad's project disproves our preconceptions of older people in an anti-ageing society. We 're now ready to discuss stage two of our project - ageism within the arts!
Audiences, curators and practitioners are obsessed with youthfulness, the arts replicates societies attitude towards elders when it should be setting a more inclusive precedent.
When talking about Grandad's project to other artists, audiences and press lots of them think it's a unique idea, I think this is because the notion of a contemporary artist being over 70 years old feels bizarre or grotesque - it shouldn't.
Over the next three years I am making three projects that will address ageism - age is on my agenda. Part of Grandad's project is to normalise the idea of an elder being a contemporary or emerging artist - why shouldn't elders have the same opportunities? Why shouldn't they be able to win the Turner Prize? ....so that's where I'm starting!
Turner Prize is an annual prize for British visual artists. Since it's beginnings in 1984 it has become the worlds most publicised art award. Organised by Tate, Turner Prize showcases the very best home grown talent ...that's under 50.
I'm asking everyone to take 2 minutes to tweet Tate the following...
.@Tate, pls reconsider the upper age limit for #TurnerPrize so older emerging artists like @RealLGallagher can be considered #ArtNotAgeism
I want to live in a world where older, emerging artists like my Grandad can be considered for one of the UK's largest and most prominent art commendations. I want us to encourage and commend older voices in the arts sector. OK, I understand the current age limit prevents long standing art celebrities being shortlisted for the award but it also excludes some extremely valuable voices - perhaps an amendment that only allows artists who have been practising for 20 years or less would suffice?
If our voices are heard then hopefully an amendment to the Turner rules will follow! Can you imagine a world where your grandparent / the older lady next door / you could become the next Turner Prize winner? Lets not imagine, lets do it! Lets create art, not ageism.
Grandad's debut gallery show 'No Need to Shout' opens this month and we'd love to see you there! http://RealLiamGallagher.co.uk