press release

Artes Mundi 9

March 15 - September 5, 2021

Digital exhibition via website

National Museum Cardiff Cathays Park Cardiff, CF10 3NP United Kingdom 

Chapter Market Rd Cardiff, CF5 1QE  United Kingdom 

Firelei Báez (Dominican Republic) / Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa) / Meiro Koizumi (Japan) / Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico) / Prabhakar Pachpute (India) / Carrie Mae Weems (USA)

Due to the ongoing challenges wrought by COVID-19, the UK’s largest international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi 9 will now open virtually on Monday, March 15, 2021. Audiences will be able to explore the exhibition initially through guided video walkthroughs of each artist’s presentation and still photographic documentation within gallery settings. Although an opening date remains unknown currently and subject to many external circumstances, the Artes Mundi 9 Prize winner announcement will take place digitally on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

The biennial exhibition will open to the public when Wales returns to Tier 2 restrictions and in-person visits are possible but online visitors will first have the opportunity to view the global premiere of major new works by many of the shortlisted artists.

American artist Carrie Mae Weems, celebrated for her powerful engagement with Black and female representation, encompasses cultural identity, racism, class, political systems and the consequences of power. A new photographic installation, The Push, The Call, The Scream, The Dream reflects on the late civil rights activist John Robert Lewis within the context of the present, while a selection of large-scale pieces from her recent public art campaign interrogates the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of colour while offering messages of hope. 

A new 16mm film, About Falling by Puerto Rican artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz forms part of a film and video presentation that poetically creates a layered installation of non-linear narratives considering the histories and continuing presence of various colonisers on Puerto Rico, its landscape, people and culture.

Dominican Republic-born and New York-based artist Firelei Báez, has produced four major new large-scale paintings celebrating Diasporic narrative and black female subjectivity, while South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape materially and conceptually engages with place, history, and the consequences of the trans-Atlantic slave-trade through objects, drawing and song, presenting art as embodying the potential for acknowledgement and reconciliation. 

Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi’s haunting video triptych The Angels of Testimony tackles the legacy of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), dismantling cultural taboos by acknowledging shameful histories. Prabhakar Pachpute—whose family worked in the coal mines of central India for three generations—draws on shared cultural heritage with the Welsh mining community to create an installation of new paintings and canvas banners that harness the iconography of protest and collective action.

As part of Artes Mundi’s new digital offering, a robust public programme will launch online alongside the exhibition, structured as a series of talks, podcasts, live streamed events and downloadable activities.  

Hosted on Zoom and presented in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University, the At the table … talks will be free to all with the first launching on Thursday 11 March at 8pm GMT featuring shortlisted artist Firelei Báez in conversation with Artes Mundi 9 juror Rachel Kent, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Dr Francesca Sobande, lecturer of Digital Media Studies at University of Cardiff and Trinidad-born, Cardiff-based artist and researcher Dr Adéọlá Dewis. The live talks will subsequently be made available as podcasts via the Artes Mundi website.