Artes Mundi 9 Opens With Virtual Exhibition

Prabhakar Pachpute The Bull(from the series of Sea of Fist) (3)

The UK’s largest international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi 9 will open virtually (with guided video walkthroughs of each artist’s presentation) on Monday 15th March 2021 ahead of its physical exhibition in April. The Artes Mundi 9 winner of the £40,000 prize will be announced digitally on Thursday 15th April 2021.

Due to the continuing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s largest international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi 9 will now open virtually on Monday 15th 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. Although an opening date remains unknown currently and subject to many external circumstances, the Artes Mundi 9 Prize winner announcement will take place digitally on Thursday 15th April 2021. The Artes Mundi 9 exhibition will open to the public when Wales returns to Tier 2 restrictions and in-person visits are possible.

Meiro Koizumi Angels of Testimony (still) 11
Meiro Koizumi, Angels of Testimony (still). Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Courtesy the artist, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam and MUJIN-TO Production, Tokyo

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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 March at 8pm GMT. Chaired by Artes Mundi 9 juror Rachel Kent, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, it will feature 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 talks will take place live, then made available as podcasts via the Artes Mundi website.

Alongside other shortlisted artists, contributors to subsequent talks will include internationally known figures such as: Sonia Boyce, who will represent the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2021; Marie Hélène Pereira (Director of Programmes, RAW Material Company, Senegal); Elvira Dyangani-Ose (AM9 juror and Director, The Showroom, London); and Zoe Butt (Artistic Director, Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). They will join UK and Wales based artists, curators and thinkers including Evie Manning (Co-Director, Common Wealth Theatre based in Cardiff and Bradford); Francis McKee (Director of CCA Glasgow); and Yvonne Connikie (Artist and Founder of Black Film Festival Wales), amongst many others.

Firelei Baez Untitled (Le Jeu du Monde)
Firelei Baez, Untitled (Le Jeu du Monde). Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York © Firelei Báez. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle


As part of its virtual opening of Artes Mundi 9 on 15th March, visitors 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 Mohammed, to present Pitch Black Lates, commissions by four artists, Omikemi, June Campbell-Davies, Yvonne Connikie and Gabin Kongolo 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 Hannah Issa and Yousuf Lleu Shah working with Where I’m Coming From and Literature Wales.

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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 – chosen by an expert jury out of more than 700 nominations from 90 countries – includes Firelei Báez (Dominican Republic), Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa), Meiro Koizumi (Japan), Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico), Prabhakar Pachpute (India, The Bull (from the series of Sea of Fist). Courtesy of the artist, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai and Experimenter, Kolkata, at top of page) and Carrie Mae Weems (USA). Recent winners include: Theaster Gates (2015), John Akomfrah (2017) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2019).


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.”

Dineo Seshee Bopape, The stronger we become_Installation view The South African Pavillion, La Biennale di Venezia
Dineo Seshee Bopape, The Stronger We Become, Installation view The South African Pavillion, La Biennale di Venezia. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion di Persano, Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg/Beirut

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Artes Mundi is an international arts organisation based in Cardiff, UK. Established in 2002, Artes Mundi 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. Previous winners are: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2019) John Akomfrah (2017), Theaster Gates (2015), Teresa Margolles (2013), Yael Bartana (2010), N S Harsha (2008), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (2006), and Xu Bing (2004).

Artes Mundi is publicly funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and Cardiff Council. Other supporters include British Council Wales, The Colwinston Charitable Trust, The Foyle Foundation, The Myristica Trust, The Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity, Contemporary Art Society of Wales and Eversheds Sutherland.

Digital exhibition: 15 March – 6 June 2021
Physical exhibition to open once Cardiff enters Tier 2
Prize Announcement: 15 April 2021
Exhibition Venues:
National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP
Chapter, Market Rd, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1QE
g39, Oxford St, Cardiff CF24 3DT
Admission: Free
Information: | +44 (0) 300 777 7300 | @artesmundi

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