A portrait painter whose subjects are imaginary and an installation artist who recruits teams of volunteers to tell passers-by anecdotes about their lives are among the nominees for this year’s Turner Prize.

The annual £25,000 prize for a contemporary artist living and working in Britain is known for selecting controversial and unusual contenders. The artists are nominated based on an exhibition they’ve given in the past year.

This year’s crop ranges from the whimsical to the humourous. They are:

  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the first black woman nominated for the award, who creates traditional portraits of people who do not exist, telling detailed back stories for each fictional subject.
  • French installation artist Laure Prouvost, who creates videos with quick cuts and deliberate misuse of language.
  • Glasgow-based David Shrigley, known for his blackly humorous stick-men cartoons with captions. He also directed the video for Blur's Good Song.
  • British-German performance artist Tino Sehgal, whose Tate Modern installation involved live encounters between a team of volunteers and gallery visitors designed to "break down barriers."

Previous winners of the prize, named for 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, include transvestite potter Grayson Perry, shark pickler Damien Hirst and dung-daubing painter Chris Ofili.

This year's Turner exhibition will be held at Ebrington in Derry-Londonderry, 2013's UK City of Culture. The winner will be announced Dec. 2.