SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has congratulated the Array Collective on their Turner Prize win and said their achievement showed the importance of supporting local artists.
Ms Hanna said the sector had seen a significant cut in funding in recent years and was among those worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Northern Ireland’s arts sector receives the lowest funding per capita of anywhere on these islands.
According to the Arts Council, Northern Ireland allocates 5x less per person (£5.38m) when compared with the South (£28.52).
She called on the Department for Communities to explore further funding opportunities for the arts, to allow local talents to thrive and reach their full potential.
South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:
“This is an incredible achievement by the Array Collective, through a combination of art and activism.
“The art sector here is outstanding, providing the most organic of ‘shared space’ over the decades, helping interpret the world and our corner of it, and is a major part of the draw for visitors and investors.
"Unfortunately the sector is chronically underfunded, the lowest levels on this island, pushing many people out of the sector and leaving others exhausted by chasing small amounts of funding. The pandemic, and the loss of audiences, has compounded existing problems.
“This win gives us an opportunity to pause and take stock of the impact the arts have on life across Northern Ireland. It creates jobs, brings communities together and greatly enhances our tourism offering. If we want to see further Turner Prize wins in the future then we need to ensure the sector is properly funded going forward.
“I’m sure the Array Collective’s unprecedented success will inspire a new generation of artists and we need to ensure they have the support and guidance they need to realise their potential and make their own mark on the art world.”