The shortlist for the ninth edition of the Artes Mundi prize has been announced, with six artists up for the biennial international award.

They are: 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).

With prize money of £40,000, the award remains the UK’s largest contemporary art prize. The winner will be announced in January 2021 during a four-month exhibition which will run from October 2020 to February 2021 at the National Museum Cardiff.

Announcing the shortlist at The Showroom, London, Artes Mundi’s new director Nigel Prince (former director of Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and curator at Ikon Birmingham), said that the selected artists “individually produce… compelling and distinctive bodies of work”.

He added: “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.”

Dineo Seshee Bopape‘s large-scale installations explore gender, politics, race, psychology and sexuality through personal and collective memories.

Utilising archival images and sound, as well as natural and technological systems, her work has been shown at various international biennials, including the 12th Biennale de Lyon and 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018.

Meiro Koizumi creates videos and performances which address the boundaries between the private and public, in particular in relation to his Japanese cultural heritage.

Examples include his 2018 work Battlelands which investigates the psychological dimension of the violence of war through performances by five US combat veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year he was also included in the Mercedes Benz Art Scope residency programme for artists.

Film-maker Beatriz Santiago Muñoz explores the social and political conditions of her native Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. In particular, she focuses on how the redevelopment and gentrification of the Puerto Rican landscape has impacted on local communities.

In 2015 she was awarded the Creative Capital Visual Art Award, and in 2017 the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award.

The meticulous drawings and animations of Prabhakar Pachpute consider the working conditions, unequal social development and land politics of his home state Chandrapur in India.

Often using surreal and hybrid combinations of figures and machines to comment on issues concerning labour, he draws directly onto walls to create spectacular mural installations.

Carrie Mae Weems works with photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video to investigate family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, and political systems.

With a practice spanning three decades, she recently received the MacArthur ‘Genius’ grant as well as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Artes Mundi 9 selectors and jury members are: 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.

Previous winners of the prize include Thailand’s critically acclaimed filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who won the eighth edition earlier this year for his split screen film Invisibility which explored the dark side of Thailand’s political past.

Other winners include: John Akomfrah (2017), Theaster Gates (2015), Teresa Margolles (2013), Yael Bartana (2010), N S Harsha (2008), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (2006), and Xu Bing (2004).

1. Dineo Bopape, It Comes With the Rain, 2016. Photo: Sfeir Semler
2. Meiro Koizumi, Portrait of a Young Samurai, 2009. Photo: Annet Gelink
3. Beatriz Santiago Munoz, La Cueva Negra. Photo: Beatriz Santiago Munoz
4. Prabakhar Pachpute, Sea of Fists. Courtesy: the artist
5. Carrie Mae Weems, Slow Fade to Black, Metro Hall

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