At 16, Jeremy Deller was barred from sitting O-level art. Last night he won the Turner Prize

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The Independent Online

An artist who visited George Bush's hometown burger bar for a film on Texas and created a wall chart linking acid house music and brass bands, was named last night as the £25,000 winner of the 2004 Turner Prize for contemporary art.

An artist who visited George Bush's hometown burger bar for a film on Texas and created a wall chart linking acid house music and brass bands, was named last night as the £25,000 winner of the 2004 Turner Prize for contemporary art.

Jeremy Deller, 38, was the hotly tipped favourite for the prize against competition from Kutlug Ataman, a Turkish-born artist, Yinka Shonibare, whose inspiration stems from his Nigerian and British roots, and the duo Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell, whose work included a video game inspired by a visit to Osama bin Laden's former home in Afghanistan.

Deller attended Dulwich College in London but he was not deemed good enough to take O-level art at the private school. He said his art was about an engagement with the wider world - "trying to make sense of this terrible, fantastic world''.

He stressed that although the media often questioned contemporary art, it was the general public who worked with him on his art events who were more open-minded: "The general public are very interested in all this. Often it's the media and the press that are lagging behind.''

Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, speaking for the judging panel, noted the "outstanding presentations" by all four artists in the Turner Prize show which continues at Tate Britain until Christmas. Of Deller, Sir Nicholas said: "We praise his generosity of spirit across a succession of projects which engage with social and cultural contexts and celebrate the creativity of individuals."

Deller, who trained at the Courtauld and lives and works in London, is most famous for a project, The Battle of Orgreave, which recreated and recorded on film a pitched fight between police and miners during the 1984-85 miners' strike.

But it was for the more recent work Memory Bucket that he was shortlisted this year. In Memory Bucket, he visited two politically loaded locations in Texas: Waco, scene of the Branch Davidian siege in 1993, and Crawford, President Bush's home town. He wove together interviews with Texans, including the owner of Mr Bush's local diner, and an elderly Quaker woman who opposed the President's actions in Iraq. This piece is included in the Turner Prize show alongside works such as The History of the World, a wall painting connecting acid house and brass bands and referring back to work seven years ago where he asked a brass band to perform acid house anthems.

Another piece, A Social Parade, in which he organised a parade in the Spanish town of San Sebastian is typical of the way he works as "part alchemist, part social anthropologist", in the words of the Tate curator, Lizzie Carey Thomas.

The Turner Prize was created 20 years ago to honour a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of work in the previous year.Jon Snow, the broadcaster and a Tate trustee, presented the winner's cheque at last night's ceremony.

Winning can seriously benefit an artist's fame and fortune. Previous recipients include Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst. But Deller played this down as motivation. "You don't make things like this to win prizes. You do it to satisfy yourself,'' he said.

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