Nine Artists Shortlisted for Third Artes Mundi Prize

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Nine Artists Shortlisted for Third Artes Mundi Prize
Lida Abdul, White House, 2005, 16mm film transfer. Courtesy of the artist and Giorgio Persano Gallery, Turin.

CARDIFF, WALES.-Man’s destruction of the environment, AIDS’ destruction of man and the problems of marginalised societies are just three of the issues reflected upon by the contenders for the third Artes Mundi international contemporary art prize.

Artes Mundi, Wales international contemporary arts initiative announced today the nine artists short-listed for the third Artes Mundi Prize. They are: Lida Abdul (based in Kabul and California); Vasco Araújo (lives and works in Lisbon); Mircea Cantor (lives in Romania and Paris); Dalziel and Scullion (artist duo based in Scotland); N. S. Harsha (lives and works in Mysore, India); Abdoulaye Konaté (based in Bamoko, Mali); Susan Norrie (based in Sydney, Australia) and Rosângela Rennó (lives and works in Rio de Janeiro).

This third selection was made by independent curators Isabel Carlos from Portugal, the Artistic Director of the Sydney Biennale in 2004 and Olabisi Silva from Nigeria, who co-curated the Dakar Biennale in 2006. “Our aim was to select exciting, emerging artists who provoke and debate the fundamental questions of life and art,” said Carlos.
Some of the complementary themes emerging from this diverse shortlist include that of the environment, and man’s effect and relationship to it. Lida Abdul’s work questions the meaning of our surroundings within the context of everyday life in Afghanistan. Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion explore jointly the complex relationship between mankind and the natural world, and Susan Norrie makes moving images of the link between development and the destruction of communities. Vasco Araújo explores ideas of marginality and community while Abdoulaye Konaté has created textiles that allude to the devastating effects of issues such as AIDS in Africa and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Roseângela Rennó works with found photographs, preferring to represent the ‘stories of the losers’ rather than tell the ‘history of the winners.’ N.S Harsha focuses on figures in his paintings, offering a political commentary with echoes of the formal nature of Indian miniature painting. Finally Mircea Cantor, using a wide range of media, questions the very essence of identity and meaning.

The selected artists have experienced varying levels of international exposure in their careers to date, from group exhibitions in their region to some representing their country at biennales such as Venice and Singapore as well as at Documenta XII. However, Artes Mundi gives these artists the unique opportunity to present a major body of work to a very broad audience in both the UK and internationally.

The third Artes Mundi Prize (£40,000) will be awarded at the end of April 2008. The first Artes Mundi Prize was awarded to Chinese artist Xu Bing in 2004. The second Artes Mundi Prize was awarded to Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila in 2006.

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