Array Collective, a group of Belfast-based artists whose work is a response to issues affecting Northern Ireland, have been named the winners of the Turner Prize 2021, the leading international award for contemporary art.

The group, comprising 11 artists, have been working together "more actively" since 2016 and "create collaborative actions in response to socio-political issues" affecting the region.

Their success was announced at a ceremony in Coventry Cathedral, England where they were presented with the £25,000 (almost €30,000) prize money.

The five-strong shortlist this year was made up of entirely of artist collectives for the first time in the history of the award, with no single person chosen.

The four other nominees - Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.), Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical and Project Art Works - were all awarded £10,000.

The jury awarded the top prize to Array Collective for "their hopeful and dynamic artwork which addresses urgent social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland with humour, seriousness and beauty".

The group impressed the jury with their ability to "translate their activism and values into the gallery environment, creating a welcoming, immersive and surprising exhibition", a statement said.

The winning artwork, The Druithaib's Ball, was designed as a place to gather outside the sectarian divide which has dominated the collective memory of Northern Ireland for the last 100 years.

The shebeen, a "pub without permission", is an immersive installation with a large canopy styled from banners which provides a floating roof and a circle of flag poles that reference ancient Irish ceremonial sites.

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize jury, told the PA news agency: "Of course, it was a hard one, the decision.

"But what the jurists were drawn to, I think, was both a combination of the seriousness of the issues they're dealing with, in a very divided world, but the joy, the hope, the fun, the surprise.... with which they do their political work as artworks.

"I think the feeling was that the exhibition had really successfully translated the spirit of what they do, how they go about it, this amazing [shebeen] you know, illegal pub, Northern Irish style in the middle of a gallery with these amazing videos of performances that were quite mesmerising...

"While underneath it all a really serious message, imagining a life, beyond sectarianism, beyond patriarchy, that's campaigning for reproductive rights, for LGBT+ rights, but again with a spirit of the absurd and a light touch that's nevertheless profound and engaging, and they felt that was absolutely present in the exhibition space in a very surprising way."