Luke Willis Thompson

Twenty Fifth Anniversary Awards - Shortlisted 2018

Raised in a mixed-race family in New Zealand, Luke Willis Thompson frequently uses narratives from the media and news to think about issues around race and class, particularly when the traumatic repetitions of these concepts re-occur in everyday life. Although mostly working as an artist in the installation and visual arts field, Thompson’s recent focus has been film and performance, incorporating ideas of journalism, activism and social engagement.

Now residing in the UK, Thompson recently completed a residency at Chisenhale Gallery (London, 2016/17) where he created two silent, black and white, portrait films. The first, Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries looked at the stories of two Londoners whose mother and grandmother, respectively, were killed by Metropolitan Police officers. The second, Autoportrait, features Diamond Reynolds, a young woman famed for recording the moments during a traffic stop in Minnesota when her partner was fatally shot by police.

As well as the UK and his native New Zealand, Thompson has exhibited across the world, from both the Montreal and Sao Paulo Biennials (2016), to Shanghai’s Osage Gallery (2014) and the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt (2014).

Luke was nominated by fellow Frith Kerr.