Artes Mundi 9 – the UK’s largest international contemporary art prize – will launch the digital version of its physical exhibitions with three venues: National Museum Cardiff, Chapter and g39 on Monday 15 March.
Due to the ongoing challenges wrought by COVID-19, Artes Mundi 9 will initially open virtually on 15 March and will remain on view until Sunday 5 September. In-person visits will be possible once Wales returns to Tier 2 restrictions, but until that time audiences will be able to explore the exhibition through guided video walkthroughs of each artist’s presentation and still photographic documentation within gallery settings.
The Artes Mundi 9 Prize winner announcement will take place digitally on Thursday 15 April 2021. An expert judging panel will select the winner of the £40,000 award from artists 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).
The Artes Mundi 9 virtual launch will mark the global premiere of major new works by several of these shortlisted artists, including Carrie Mae Weems’ photographic installation The Push, The Call, The Scream, The Dream, a new film About Falling by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and a series of dynamic large-scale paintings by Firelei Báez. An immersive installation comprising sculpture, drawing and sound by Dineo Seshee Bopape uses soil and clay from Welsh sacred sites combined with earth from other locations around the world including Île de Gorée, Senegal; James River, Richmond, Virginia; Mississippi River, New Orleans; and the Achimota Forest, Accra, Ghana. And Prabhakar Pachpute has developed an installation of paintings on canvas banners that continues his critique of the individual worker within the context of larger corporate and economic forces.
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 At the table with … talks are FREE to all with the first launching on Thursday 11 March at 8pm GMT. Each of the shortlisted artists will be in conversation with experts from around the world, these live events will then be made available as podcasts via the Artes Mundi website. Registration for the talks is via Eventbrite.
Thursday 11 March, 8pm GMT: FIRELEI BÁEZ
AM9 shortlisted artist Firelei Báez in conversation with Dr Francesca Sobande, lecturer of Digital Media Studies at University of Cardiff with a special focus on digital culture, Black identity and diaspora, feminism, and popular culture; and Trinidad-born, Cardiff-based artist and researcher Dr Adéọlá Dewis. The conversation will be chaired by Artes Mundi 9 juror Rachel Kent, Chief Curator of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
Thursday 8 April, 7pm BST DINEO SESHEE BOPAPE
AM9 shortlisted artist Dineo Seshee Bopape in conversation with Director of Programmes of RAW Material Company, Senegal, Marie Hélène Pereira, Artes Mundi 9 juror and Director of The Showroom, London Elvira Dyangani Ose, and artists Evan Ifekoya and Tina Pasotra.
Wednesday 21 April, 7pm BST BEATRIZ SANTIAGO MUÑOZ
AM9 Shortlisted artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz in conversation anthropologist, feminist, poet and performance artist and activist Gina Athena Ulysse, Francis McKee (Director of CCA Glasgow); and Yvonne Connikie (Artist and Founder of Black Film Festival Wales).
Friday 7 May, 7pm BST CARRIE MAE WEEMS
AM9 Shortlisted artist Carrie Mae Weems in conversation with artist Sonia Boyce, who will represent the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2021, Thomas J Lax, Curator of Media and Performance at MOMA New York, artist, writer, and curator Umulkhayr Mohamed and Nicole Ready (Artist, Stylist and Founder of DOCKS Magazine).
Wednesday 19 May, 1pm BST MEIRO KOIZUMI
AM9 Shortlisted artist Meiro Koizumi in conversation with Artistic Director of Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Zoe Butt, historian, comparative sociologist, psychologist and educator Abu-Bakr Madden Al Shabazz and Evie Manning (Co-Director, Common Wealth Theatre based in Cardiff and Bradford).
Wednesday 26 May, 7pm BST PRABHAKAR PACHPUTE
AM9 Shortlisted artist Prabhakar Pachpute, curator and lecturer Zasha Colah, Librarian for South Wales Miners Library Sian Williams, and Dr Radhika Mohanram, writer and Professor of English at Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory at Cardiff University.
Blind and Visually Impaired people will be able to experience the exhibition through hour-long online events. Audio Describer Anne Hornsby will carefully convey four artworks in each session, with an Artes Mundi Engagement Producer present to provide additional context and to facilitate the Q&A with the audience.
In partnership with Chapter and g39, Artes Mundi will stage film screenings of additional works and other films selected by shortlisted artists with dates and films to be confirmed.
Live-streamed family activities will take place regularly throughout the exhibition, designed by Artes Mundi’s Engagement Producers, activities will include collage, storytelling, performing, drawing and much more. There will also be new writing presented by children’s writers in residence Hanan Issa and Yousuf Lleu Shah who will create new work in response to Artes Mundi 9.
ARTIST & COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS
Alongside the biennial exhibition, Artes Mundi has longstanding and ongoing co-creative partnerships, in particular with the Aurora Trinity Collective to develop and share creative knowledge and skills within a safe and welcoming space. The collective is made up of women refugees, those seeking asylum and women in the wider community, with an emphasis on the wellbeing of each of the members.
LATES: PITCH BLACK
Artes Mundi is partnering with Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Cardiff) and project lead, Umulkhayr Mohamed, to present LATES: Pitch Black in a series of digital events on Thursday 6 May, Thursday 13 May, Thursday 20 May, Thursday 27 May. Audiences will be able to experience newly commissioned work by four artists – Omikemi, June Campbell-Davies, Yvonne Connikie and Gabin Kongolo – with additional contributions from Jukebox Collective, shared online.
WITH THE NATIONAL DANCE COMPANY WALES
Artes Mundi is inviting dancers from National Dance Company Wales Young Associates and Kokoro Arts to create new choreography in response to the work of Prabhakar Pachpute. The choreography will premier online on Saturday 15 May at the U Dance Cymru festival at 6pm BST.
ARTIST-LED AND PROJECTS IN RESPONSE TO AM9
Currently in development, a sequence of hybrid physical/digital workshops, performances, and commissions from the likes of Aurora Trinity Collective, Tina Pasotra, Dr Adéọlá Dewis, Abu-Bakr Madden Al-Shabazz, Yvonne Connikie and Jo Fong will take place throughout the exhibition’s run. Expect pop-culture playlists that look at the relationship between sound and visual art, creative sessions on textiles and wellbeing, reading groups on Black Art Movements, new performance works that explore race and representation and walking sessions.
FROM NOW ON: SHORT STORIES
Artes Mundi and Literature Wales have teamed up with Where I’m Coming From to collect and present stories from around Wales. Through an open call, people will be invited to share the stories and ideas that have been kindled by Artes Mundi 9. Entries may be submitted in Welsh or English. Six writers will be shortlisted to receive one-to-one story development mentoring with Where I’m Coming From’s Hanan Issa, Durre Shawar and Taylor Edmonds. These works will also be illustrated by award-winning artist Efa Blosse-Mason and published in the new Journal section of new Artes Mundi’s website to be launched from 15 March.
ARTIST DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR WELSH & WALES BASED ARTISTS
In collaboration with g39, Artes Mundi is scheduling one-to-one tutorials between Welsh and Wales-based artists with contributors to the public programme, including: Francis McKee, Gina Athena Ulysse, Prabhakar Pachpute, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Meiro Koizumi, Zasha Colah, Rachel Kent and Evan Ifekoya, amongst others.
THE ARTES MUNDI 9 PRIZE EXHIBITION
The Artes Mundi 9 exhibition 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 out of more than 700 nominations from 90 countries and recent winners include: Theaster Gates (2015), John Akomfrah (2017) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2019).
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. 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.
In the exhibitions, audiences can explore the work of Dominican Republic-born and New York-based artist Firelei Báez, who celebrates Diasporic narrative and black female subjectivity, imagining new possibilities for the future through dynamic, fantastical and intricate paintings. Through a new immersive installation, South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape materially and conceptually engages with place, history, and the consequences of the trans-Atlantic slave-trade through objects, ritual and song, presenting art as embodying the potential for acknowledgement and reconciliation.
Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi’s haunting video triptych Angels of Testimony tackles the legacy of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), dismantling cultural taboos and initiating healing by acknowledging shameful histories. Puerto Rican artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz‘s five film and video works poetically interweave to create a layered installation of non-linear narratives considering the histories and continuing presence of various colonisers on Puerto Rico, its landscape, people and culture.
Prabhakar Pachpute—whose family worked in the coal mines of central India for three generations—draws on shared cultural heritage with the Welsh mining community to create an installation of paintings, banners and objects that harness the iconography of protest and collective action. Work by American artist Carrie Mae Weems, celebrated for her powerful engagement with Black and female representation, encompasses cultural identity, racism, class, political systems and the consequences of power. A new photographic installation reflects on the late civil rights activist John Robert Lewis within the context of the present, while a selection of large-scale pieces from her recent public art campaign interrogates the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of colour while offering messages of hope.
Nigel Prince, Director of Artes Mundi said: “Artes Mundi is a platform for diverse perspectives and voices that seeks to stimulate meaningful dialogue. 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, concerning equity, representation, trauma and privilege.”
The shortlist was selected by a jury made up of Cosmin Costinas, Executive Director and Curator of Para Site, Hong Kong and Artistic Director of Kathmandu Triennale 2020; Elvira Dyangani-Ose, Director of The Showroom gallery in London; and Rachel Kent, Chief Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia.
They commented: “Encompassing painting and drawing, object making, film and video, the artists’ practices sit within the museum context and beyond; some transform public space and others exist as ephemeral iterations. Working against the notion of a centre, they reflect diverse global narratives in both exciting and thoughtful ways. These artists' works reflect powerfully on the changing forces that shape our world - encompassing themes of identity and narration, social structures and collective memory, and industry and ecological crisis.”