The UK's biggest art prize, Artes Mundi, announces its shortlist

25 September 2019

Meiro Koizumi: Portrait of a Young Samurai 2 Channel video, photo credit: Annet Gelink

Artes Mundi, the UK’s largest art prize, has announced the shortlist for its ninth edition, with one contemporary artist set to scoop up the £40,000 prize money. Firelei Báez from the Dominican Republic, South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape, Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz from Puerto Rico, Indian artist Praphakar Pachpute and the USA’s Carrie Mae Weems are all in the running for the the biannual award.

Artes Mundi’s new director, Nigel Prince, says that this year the prize had sought out artists responsible for “compelling and distinctive bodies of work”. He says to press, “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.”

Through her work, painter Firelei Báez often comments on a wide range of diaspora narratives, depicting textiles, floral motifs, calligraphic patterns to talk about migration and identity through her colourful portraits. Dineo Seshee Bopape makes large-scale installations from soil, bricks, timber, archival images and sound, whereas filmmaker Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is known for documenting gentrification and development in her native Puerto Rico.

Meiro Koizumi’s video and performance work aims to capture moments when a situation gets out of control, and has previously presented performances by US veterans. Prabhakar Pachpute creates drawings of hybrid figures from charcoal – a nod to his coal mining family, while Carrie Mae Weems uses photographs, text, installation and video to depict family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems, and the African-American experience.

Each of the artists will exhibit at the National Museum Cardiff from October 2020 to February 2021, with the winner announced in January 2021.


Beatriz Santiago Muñoz: Oneiromancer


Prabakhar Pachpute: Sea of Fists


Dineo Seshee Bopape: The Future Generation Art Prize, photo credit: Maksym Biousov


Carrie Mae Weems: Untitled (Woman and Daughter with Makeup), photo credit: Carrie Mae Weems and Jack Shainman NY Gallery


Firelai Baez: Untitled (Central Power Station), photo credit James Cohan

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About the Author

Laura Snoad

Laura is a London-based arts journalist who has been working for It’s Nice That on a freelance basis since 2016.

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