Artes Mundi 9: The UK’s largest international contemporary art prize, Artes Mundi, will open virtually on Monday 15th of March 2021.
Artes Mundi is an international arts organisation based in Cardiff. Established in 2002, it is committed to supporting international contemporary visual artists whose work engages with social reality and lived experience. The Artes Mundi exhibition and prize takes place biennially, running a sustained programme of outreach and learning projects alongside the public exhibition and prize giving.
Due to the ongoing challenges wrought by COVID-19, Artes Mundi 9, the next Artes Mundi exhibition, will open virtually on Monday 15th of March 2021. Audiences will be able to explore the exhibition initially through guided video walkthroughs of each artist’s presentation and still photographic documentation within gallery settings; the exhibition will open to the public when Wales returns to Tier 2 restrictions and in-person visits are possible. The Artes Mundi 9 Prize winner announcement will take place digitally on Thursday 15th of April 2021.
Artes Mundi 9 will showcase work by six leading international contemporary artists across three venues: National Museum Cardiff, Chapter and g39. The shortlist was chosen by an expert jury made up of Cosmin Costinas, Elvira Dyangani-Ose and Rachel Kent. Selected out of more than 700 nominations from 90 countries, the Artes Mundi 9 shortlist includes Firelei Báez (Dominican Republic), Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa), Meiro Koizumi (Japan), Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico), Prabhakar Pachpute (India) and Carrie Mae Weems (USA).
Although the shortlist was first confirmed in September 2019 — at a time when few could predict what the world was accelerating towards — it is no coincidence that the artists all examine, address and question some of the most significant issues we are currently facing. “As we live through and engage with global changes of significant impact, more than ever the work of all six artists speaks to and resonates with the ideas and issues we need to address individually and collectively within our societies,” said Artes Mundi Director Nigel Prince. Presentations of new and recent work centre on the devastating impact of histories of colonialism, environmental change, intergenerational trauma and healing, the aftermath and legacies of conflict, and ongoing concerns of representation and privilege.
As part of Artes Mundi’s new digital offering, a robust public programme will launch online alongside the exhibition, structured as a series of talks, podcasts, live streamed and downloadable activities and events. Starting with panel-based discussions, these will provide deeper insight into the practice, ideas, issues and thinking of each of the shortlisted artists and their work. Hosted on Zoom and presented in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University, the twice-monthly talks will be free to all with the first launching on Thursday 11th of March at 8pm GMT. The talks will take place live, then will be made available as podcasts via the Artes Mundi website.
As part of its virtual opening on 15th of March, visitors to Artes Mundi 9 will also have the opportunity to view the global premiere of major new works by many of the shortlisted artists, including the photographic installation The Push, The Call, The Scream, The Dream by Carrie Mae Weems, a new film, About Falling, by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and sculpture, drawings and sound by Dineo Seshee Bopape involving soil and clay from Welsh sacred sites combined with that from significant locations such as Île de Gorée, Senegal; James River, Richmond, Virginia; Mississippi River, New Orleans; and the Achimota Forest, Accra, Ghana.
Alongside the biennial exhibition, Artes Mundi has longstanding and ongoing co-creative outreach projects, in particular working with the Aurora Trinity Collective and the refugee and asylum seeker community in Cardiff. Developing such work and values further, Artes Mundi is partnering with National Museum Cardiff and project lead Umulkhayr Mohamed to present Lates: PITCH BLACK, commissions by four artists responding to areas of the National Museum Wales collection and work by artists in Artes Mundi 9. Public presentations of work developed will take place during the run of Artes Mundi 9 with additional contributors from Jukebox Collective and others. There will also be hybrid physical/digital workshops, performances, and commissions from the likes of Aurora Trinity Collective, Tina Pasotra, Nicole Ready and Jo Fong as well as curated family events such as storytelling sessions with Artes Mundi Children’s Writers In Residence Hanan Issa and Yousuf Lleu Shah working with Where I’m Coming From and Literature Wales.