Date posted: September 24, 2019

FIRELEI BÁEZ (DO) | DINEO SESHEE BOPAPE (ZA) | MEIRO KOIZUMI (JP) |                    BEATRIZ SANTIAGO MUÑOZ (PR) | PRABHAKAR PACHPUTE (IN) |                                                      CARRIE MAE WEEMS (USA)

The UK’s leading international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi is delighted to announce an impressive shortlist of six artists for the ninth edition of the biannual prize: 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 winner of the prestigious Cardiff-based Artes Mundi prize will be announced in January 2021 during a four-month exhibition from October 2020 to February 2021 at National Museum Cardiff.

As an important arbiter of cultural exchange between the UK and international communities, Artes Mundi seeks to bring together a major biennial exhibition of international contemporary art by some of the most relevant artistic voices of our time. It remains the UK’s largest contemporary art prize with £40,000 prize money and in 2019 Nigel Prince (formerly director of Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and curator at Ikon Birmingham) takes the helm as the new director of this great organisation.

Nigel Prince, Artes Mundi’s new Director said: “We are delighted to announce the shortlist of artists selected for Artes Mundi 9 who individually produce such compelling and distinctive bodies of work. In prompting us to critically reflect on what it means to exist in this world in all its complexity, their practices speak to and engage with some of the most urgent issues of our time.”

The visually striking work of Firelei Báez focuses on wide ranging Diaspora narratives, addressing questions surrounding issues such as migration, women’s identity and future potentials. Her work challenges culturally predetermined ethnic stereotypes and, often featuring strong female protagonists, her exuberantly colourful paintings combine symbolic cues that span from lavish textiles and wall coverings with colonial-era floral motifs to calligraphic patterns, hair textures, feathered headdresses and beaded jewellery. In 2017 she was shortlisted for Pinchuk Art Foundation’s Future Generation Art Prize, exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale and in 2019 she was granted Soros Arts Fellowship.

Dineo Seshee Bopape’s expansive practice tackles subjects of gender, politics, race, psychology and sexuality addressed through personal and collective memories. She uses a diverse range of commonplace materials such as soil, bricks, timber, with archival images and sound, as well as natural and technological systems, to develop powerful large-scale installations that draw together the celestial and the earthly, the bodily and the metaphysical. Bopape’s work has been shown internationally at some of the most prestigious biennales around the world, including 12th Biennale de Lyon and 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018.

Meiro Koizumi’s videos and performances have garnered attention globally for their investigation into boundaries between the private and the public, a domain of specific importance to his Japanese cultural heritage. Often starting harmoniously, he gradually heightens the tension manipulating the situation from humorous to painful. His performances focus and enlarge the moment when a situation gets out of control, such as his 2018 work Battlelands where Koizumi investigates the psychological dimension of the violence of war through performances by five US combat veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2018 he was included in the prestigious Mercedes Benz Art Scope residency program for artists.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is best known for films rooted in long periods of observation and research exploring the social and political conditions of her native Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Her cultural heritage plays a crucial role in her practice which focuses on the redevelopment and gentrification of the Puerto Rican landscape, and its impact on local communities. Santiago Muñoz was awarded the Creative Capital Visual Art Award (2015) and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2017).

Prabhakar Pachpute’s works are strongly informed by the working conditions, relentless excavation, unequal social development and land politics of his home state Chandrapur in India, known as ‘the city of black gold’. His meticulous drawings, animations and use of charcoal have a direct connection to his subject matter and, as the son of a coal miner, to his familial roots. Using surreal, hybrid combinations of figures and machines to comment on issues concerning labour, Pachpute frequently draws directly onto walls to create spectacular mural installations that investigate a complexity of historical transformations on an economic, societal and environmental stage.

Carrie Mae Weems is one of the most influential American artists of the 21st century with her award-winning practice investigating family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the consequences of power for over thirty years. Through her work, she puts the spotlight on the complex, multidimensional American black experience and questions the internalized racism of her home country. Her complex and multi-award winning body of work employs photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video. In 2013 Weems received the MacArthur “Genius” grant as well as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Artes Mundi 9 jury is 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; and Rachel Kent, Chief Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia.

They commented: “Working with Artes Mundi and one another as jurors has been an unusually collaborative and satisfying process. It has unfolded over a period of months, from a preliminary longlist of submissions through to a shortlist, then a final selection of six outstanding artists who all bring something unique to the project. 

Encompassing painting and drawing, object making, film and video, their 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.”






Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Dominican Republic; lives and works in New York) has had solo exhibitions in 2019 at the Mennello Museum of Art, Orlando, FL; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; and the Modern Window at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her monumental outdoor sculpture, 19.604692°N 72.218596°W, is currently included in En Plein Air, the 2019 High Line Art exhibition. Her major 2015 solo exhibition Bloodlines was organized by the Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL and travelled to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2017 she was shortlisted for Pinchuk Art Foundation’s Future Generation Art Prize, exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale and in 2019 she was awarded the Soros Arts Fellowship.

Dineo Seshee Bopape (SOUTH AFRICA)

Dineo Seshee Bopape (b. 1981, Polokwane, South Africa; lives and works in Johannesburg) has had recent solo exhibitions at Hayward Gallery Project Space, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Witte de With, Rotterdam; and Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany. Her work has been shown internationally at some of the most prestigious biennales, including the Venice Biennale this year, the 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018 and 12th Biennale de Lyon in 2013. She was the winner of 2008 MTN New Contemporaries Award and more recently she won both Sharjah Biennial Prize and Future Generation Art Prize 2017.

Meiro Koizumi (JAPAN)

Meiro Koizumi (born 1976, Gunma, Japan) has exhibited in major institutions such as MoMA, New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Tate Modern, London as well as major group exhibitions at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Liverpool Biennial and Shanghai MOCA, amongst many others. More recently he was included in the prestigious Mercedes Benz Art Scope residency program in 2018.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (PUERTO RICO)

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (born 1972; lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico) is best known for films rooted in long periods of observation and research exploring the social and political conditions of her native Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Working with a diverse array of people from a variety of backgrounds, including healers, activists, tweens, former political prisoners and butchers, she considers these individuals as the main agents of the transformative potential of her camera and the primary audience for the work. In 2017 she participated in the Whitney Biennial. She has been awarded the Creative Capital Visual Art Award (2015) and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2017). Santiago Muñoz is also the director of Sessions, a series of experimental seminars anchored in the specific geography and emerging art practices of Puerto Rico.

Prabhakar Pachpute (INDIA)

Prabhakar Pachpute (born 1986, Sasti,Chandrapur; lives and works in Pune, India) has exhibited extensively with recent solo shows at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai (2012); Experimenter, Kolkata (2013&2017); National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (2016); AsiloVia Porpora, Milan (2018); and Glasgow School of Art (2019). He has also participated in group exhibitions at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2013); Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2013); MACBA, Barcelona (2015) and was part of the 31st São Paulo Biennial (2014); 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (2014); 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015); 8th Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2015); and Dhaka Art Summit (2018); 2nd Yinchuan Biennale (2018) and the 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018). The artist is also a member of Shunya Collective. Prabhakar Pachpute is represented by Experimenter, Kolkata.

Carrie Mae Weems (USA)

Carrie Mae Weems (born 1953, Portland Oregon; lives and works in Syracuse, New York). Formerly a dance student of Anna Halprin with artists John Cage and Robert Morris and a union organiser in the working-class movement in 1970s California, Weems has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at major national and international museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frist Center for Visual Art and more recently in a New York Times review of her retrospective which travelled across the US before its final iteration at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York, Holland Cotter wrote, “Ms. Weems is what she has always been, a superb image maker and a moral force, focused and irrepressible.”



Tory Lyne-Pirkis, Suzie Jacobs, Kasimiira Kontio, and at Midas Public Relations: | | | +44 (0) 207 361 7860

WELSH PRESS: Lleucu Cooke at National Museum Cardiff | | +44 (0) 29 2057 3175


Key Information

Shortlist Announcement: 24th September 2019

Exhibition Runs: October 2020 – February 2021

Prize Announcement: January 2021

Exhibition Venue: National Museum of Art, National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

Admission: Free

Information: | +44 (0) 29 2055 5300 | @artesmundi


Praise for Artes Mundi

“my favourite prize” Arts Editor Will Gompertz at BBC News

“Artes Mundi celebrates the very best in international contemporary art” BBC World Service

“Britain’s most lucrative art prize” The Daily Telegraph

“Artes Mundi manages a complicated and rewarding show” Frieze

“the highest-valued contemporary art award in the United Kingdom” Art Asia Pacific

About Artes Mundi

Artes Mundi is an international arts organization 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, Cardiff Council and British Council. Other funders include The Colwinston Charitable Trust, The Foyle Foundation, The Myristica Trust, The Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity, Contemporary Art Society of Wales, Valero and Eversheds Sutherland.

About Artes Mundi director Nigel Prince

Nigel Prince has been working internationally as a curator and academic for over 25 years. Before joining Artes Mundi, Nigel served as the Executive Director of Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) in Vancouver from 2011 – 2019. Nigel has worked in a number of highly acclaimed international art institutions such as Tate Liverpool and Ikon Gallery in Birmingham (2004 – 2010) and during his career has curated several distinguished exhibitions with leading international contemporary artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Carmen Herrera, Ryan Gander, Andrea Zittel and Donald Judd. In the UK he was arts advisor to Arts Council England (1993-98) and was Chair for the conference New Thinking in Public Art: Habitat, Community, Environment at Tate Britain in 2004.

Art at National Museum Cardiff
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ art collection is one of the finest in Europe. Covering 6 centuries and displayed over 24 galleries at National Museum Cardiff, the collection features some of the most recognisable names in art; Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Gwen John, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. The Upper West Wing Galleries host the Museum’s changing programme of contemporary art exhibitions; recent shows have included a major retrospective of the work of David Nash and Who Decides?, a ground-breaking exhibition curated by service users from The Wallich, a charity supporting people who have experienced homelessness in Wales.

The Museum’s partnership with Artes Mundi has brought international scope to its contemporary collections that continues the tradition of the Davies sisters’ bequest of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works in the 20th century. Through Artes Mundi and the Derek Williams Trust Purchase Award, the Museum has been able to acquire works from artists including Bedwyr Williams, Tania Bruguera, Ragnar Kjartansson and Berni Searle.

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