Artes Mundi, UK’s most political art prize returns to Cardiff this October

Following the success of Artes Mundi 7, awarded to John Akomfrah earlier this year, Artes Mundi is pleased to announce the shortlist for the eighth edition of the UK’s leading biennial art prize, Artes Mundi 8. The biennial Cardiff-based prize, worth £40,000, will be awarded on 24th January 2019 following a fourth-month exhibition, opening 26th October 2018 – 24 January 2019.

The shortlist was selected from over 450 nominations spanning 86 countries and includes five of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, whose works explore what it means to be human.


The artists shortlisted for Artes Mundi 8 are:

  • Egyptian artist Anna Boghiguian, who will take over the first gallery with a monumental installation about the steel industry, moving past the faceless global industry and into the communities whose lives encompass it, including nearby Port Talbot, Wales.
  • Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili, who will create a cinema within one of the galleries to showcase her interviews with original members of the Black Panther The film revolves around the great French filmmaker Jean Genet’s play Les Negres (1958), a revolutionary work exploring racial prejudices that led to the Black Panthers collaborating with him in their protest movement.
  • Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga, who, in her interactive installation, will link the west’s everyday luxuries, from mobile phones to jewellery, to the detrimental environmental impact on African communities. Otobong sees our modern industrial revolution complicit with 21st century colonialism, where big industry has replaced the old empire’s role in colonising African landscapes.
  • American artist and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Trevor Paglen, best-known for his work investigating US surveillance and space. For Artes Mundi Trevor will show his photography the tracks and documents military surveillance and classified satellites in the night sky and deserted American landscape. Trevor was cinematographer for Oscar-winning documentary on Edward Snowden CitizenFour. Trevor is also currently crowdfunding a new project well he will launch the first ever sculpture into space.
  • Thai filmmaker and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose film Invisibility will have its UK premiere at Artes Mundi this year. The film mirrors the troubled state of Thailand’s politics as a group of people enter a future of shared consciousness where they can infiltrate each other’s dreams. Apichatpong won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010 for his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

Karen MacKinnon, Artes Mundi’s Director and Curator, said “Artes Mundi’s unique focus on the human condition enables us to bring together artists from all over the world whose art can inspire and challenge the way we see and inhabit our world. Through their diverse practices they consider urgent themes, such as political minorities and strategies of resistance in the work of Bouchra Khalili, Trevor Paglen’s  investigations of mass surveillance and data collection, explorations of  landscape, nature, language and  displacement run through the work of Otobong Nkanga. The deeply personal and political studies of everyday life are captured in the work of Anna Boghiguian and the psychologically charged and dreamlike works of Apichatpong Weerasethakul whose films, explore sexuality, the unconscious and the natural world. The ebb and flow of their ideas, the different perspectives and terms of engagement, suggest we are in for an extraordinary Artes Mundi 8. “

Artes Mundi 8 selectors, Nick Aikens, a curator at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Daniela Pérez, an independent curator based in Mexico City; and Alia Swastika, a Jakarta-based curator and writer, looked for artists who directly engage with everyday life through their practice and explore contemporary social issues across the globe.

“One of the leading contemporary art prizes in the world” BBC News at Ten
“Britain’s richest award for contemporary art” BBC Radio 4: Front Row
“One of the UK’s most prestigious art prizes” BBC Breakfast
“A prize that is quietly stealing into Turner territory” The Daily Telegraph
“…totally eclipsing and out classing the Turner Prize” The Independent
“It felt as if the prize had come of age.” The Guardian

Exhibition Runs: 26th October 2018 – 24th February 2019

Exhibition Venue:  National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

Photo credit: Film still from Power Boy (2011) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

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