What a great privilege it was over the last two days to listen to all, and meet some of, the nine finalists for ARTES MUNDI 6 at my University.

It was a full house at Cardiff School of Art & Design today for day 2 of ‘Straight from the Horse’s Mouth’

I particularly enjoyed speaking to kindred spirits Karen Mirza & Brad Butler who exhibited “The Museum of Non Participation” at Chapter Arts, Cardiff and also spoke to Carlos Bunga. I got to ask Karen and Brad the first question following their presentation and my nerves were palpable (the place was packed with art luminaries and my peer group) but my question had a very good reaction.

10940614_10152611843087544_6686424395789584654_nDay 2: Omer Fast speaking about his work.

The Award went to Theaster Gates… his seminar at my block in Cardiff Met this afternoon was amazing! “We Shall Overcome” indeed – with a voice like that he should be an honorary Welshman!
It will stay in the memory a very long time. Even more amazing that he has shared the Award moneys!
What a guy! He shared the £40,000 prize with all nine finalists!

Chicago artist takes home £40,000 Artes Mundi prize

Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates has won the coveted Artes Mundi 6 award in Cardiff.

Gates beat nine other nominees for the £40,000 prize – the largest award for the arts in the UK.

Can Artes Mundi outshine Turner Prize?


The winning installation, A Complicated 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. Gates said he was “grateful” to Artes Mundi for the global platform to “expand the context” of his work.

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”.

Chocolate sculptures on Artes Mundi prize shortlist

My personal favourite was “The Disobedient Revolutionaries” by Sanja Ivekovic and I blogged about her exhibition at Penarth’s Ffotogallery in November, Here: Disobedient Revolutionaries

[my own thoughts on the last two seminar days to follow, I have several pages of my notebooks to decipher]


Artes Mundi presents work by international artists who respond to the human condition. While this is a vast context, it invites us to consider how these artists connect to broader social concerns from perspectives that are engaged with society, political systems and diverse local and global communities.
The audience and artists are invited to explore ideas about activism, empowerment and resistance in the work of Mirza & Butler and Sanja Iveković. Public/private, institutional space and social control are explored in the work of Renata Lucas whilst Carlos Bunga creates site specific installations in response to the history, atmosphere and architecture of the gallery. Regeneration and gentrification are key themes in the work of Theaster Gates and Renzo Martens. Many of the artists also work collaboratively, for example, Sharon Lockhart works with individuals and groups over long periods to create her mesmeric films and photographs.
Time, duration and repetition play an important role in Ragnar Kjartansson’s performances and films, his practice also converses with Sanja’s in more subtle ways in relation to femininity and feminism. Omer Fast also uses repetition as a device in his high production value films. Like many of the artists he challenges the relationship between fiction and reality in an exploration of trauma, loss and coping strategies.







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