Chicago artist Theaster Gates was last night announced as the winner of the Artes Mundi prize at an awards ceremony in Cardiff.

And, in a move that fits perfectly with both the prize’s ethos and the socially-engaged, communal nature of Gates’ practice, he shared the £40,000 award with the nine other artists shortlisted for the biennial prize, announcing: “Let’s split this motherfucker!”

Founder of the non-profit Rebuild Foundation and director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago, the internationally-renowned artist makes work from discarded found objects, creating thought-provoking narratives with complex and often strangely beautiful sculptural installations.

For Artes Mundi, Gates is showing the installation, A complicated relationship between heaven and earth, or when we believe, which includes a church slate roof and a Masonic bucking goat on a track.

On winning the prize, Gates told the BBC: “Winning this award is validation that this new body of work has a place in the world and a place among my peers, and on behalf of all the artists in Artes Mundi I think this process has been amazing.”

Artes Mundi director Karen Mackinnon praised Gates’ work and said that as well as his ability as an artist he stood out as “an urbanist, a facilitator and a curator”.

The shortlist for the international prize included the Isreali filmaker Omer Fast, Iceland’s Ragnar Kjartansson, Croatian artist Sanja Ivekovic and the London-based artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler.

Artes Mundi 6 continues at National Museum Cardiff, Chapter and Ffotogallery until 22 February 2015.

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