LONDON • It is show time for the four nominees of British art's high-profile Turner Prize before it is awarded in December.
An exhibition showcasing their works opened in the Ferens Art Gallery in the northern city of Hull on Tuesday and runs until Jan 7.
The nominees are Lubaina Himid, 62; Hurvin Anderson, 52; Andrea Buttner, 45; and Rosalind Nashashibi, 44.
Artists of any age were eligible when the prize - awarded to an artist born, living or working in Britain - was launched in 1984. In 1991, the rules allowed only artists under 50 to be considered. But earlier this year, the rule changed again to allow over-50s to enter.
"It feels at this moment that contemporary art is not as generational as perhaps it was in the 1990s or even in the noughties," Mr Alex Farquharson, director of organiser Tate Britain, said.
"There are so many artists, now of older age, whose work is being shown in very contemporary contexts, being discussed in very current critical context and are being looked at by younger artists."
Anderson, son of Jamaican immigrants, is known for his paintings of barbershops, some of which are included in the Hull exhibition. He is also showing vibrant paintings of trees and foliage.
Himid, who was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, examines the African diaspora in her paintings, drawings and installations. Among her works on display is a collection of English ceramics painted with images of black slaves.
The Germany-born Buttner does woodblock prints, etchings and paintings. Her pieces include a display about Simone Weil, the French philosopher and activist, that is on loan from the Peace Gallery at the Anti-War Museum in Berlin.
Nashashibi, a British film-maker who lives and works in London, is screening two movies - one set in Gaza and the other in Guatemala. Both merge documentary techniques with scripted scenes.
Critics have applauded the decision to raise the age limit for this year's prize, crediting it for the varied and thoughtful range of works.
In a four-star review, Jackie Wullschlager, chief art critic of The Financial Times, described it as "the most serious, accessible Turner exhibition of this century".
The Times of London said: "By expanding its parameters, it has broadened its outlook in complex ways and deepened it too."
Adrian Searle, art critic for The Guardian, said raising the age limit allowed older artists to take part. He counted Himid among the artists who "don't hit their stride until relatively late or are, for various reasons, overlooked".
Mark Hudson, art critic for The Daily Telegraph, said, unlike its predecessors, this year's show had "less emphasis on glitzy star-making, less intellectual navel-gazing and more of the themes and ideas that the non-art specialist might actually care about".
But he added a word of caution: "There's a danger that the prize may once again become an award for past achievement, rather than for work reflecting art today."
The winner, to be announced on Dec 5, will receive a £25,000 (S$46,000) cash prize.
Multimedia artist Helen Marten won last year.
During the 1990s, the prize helped to launch the careers of some of the stars of the Young British Artists movement, such as Damien Hirst, with his cow in formaldehyde, and Tracey Emin's unmade bed.