The Chicago-based American artist Theaster Gates is this year’s winner of the Artes Mundi 6 award which was announced in Cardiff yesterday.
Gates takes home the £40,000 prize which is the largest award for the arts in Great Britain. The other nine nominees from 70 countries were shortlisted from more 900 entries.
Gates in his acceptance speech said he was “grateful” to Artes Mundi for the global platform to “expand the context” of his work. His installation deals with the Relationship between Heaven and Earth, or When We Believe, is a series of symbolic objects that the artist says challenges the dominance of Christian ideology in the western world”.Artes Mundi director Karen Mackinnon said Gates stood out for “his ability to be not just an artist but an urbanist, a facilitator and a curator”.
Artist Mundi 6 is the UK’s leading international contemporary art prize and an important arbiter of cultural exchange between the UK and the international community which takes place bi-annually. Bringing together a major exhibition of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Artes Mundi 6 promises to be the foremost opportunity to see ground-breaking, international contemporary art in the UK.
Artes Mundi, the organisation behind the prize and exhibition, is an international arts organisation committed to supporting ground breaking, international, contemporary, visual artists whose work engages with social reality and lived experience. The organisation is publicly funded by the Arts Council of Wales and by Cardiff City Council and runs a sustained programme of outreach and learning projects throughout the year.
In 2014, the biennial event branches out beyond the National Museum Cardiff, to include Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and ffotogallery, Penarth, with a world-class programme of performance, music, site-specific installations, film, lectures and seminars based around the exhibition and prize, and running across the city from October to February.
The shortlisted artists for Artes Mundi 6: CARLOS BUNGA (Portugal), OMER FAST (Israel), THEASTER GATES (USA), SANJA IVEKOVIĆ (Croatia) RAGNAR KJARTANSSON (Iceland), SHARON LOCKHART (USA), RENATA LUCAS (Brazil), RENZO MARTENS (Netherlands), KAREN MIRZA & BRAD BUTLER (UK) This year’s shortlist was selected from over 800 nominations by Adam Budak, independent curator, and Sabine Schaschl, director of Museum Haus Konstruktiv.