Futuristic cityscape
Bedwyr Williams, Tyrrau Mawr, 2016 ©

Polly Thomas / Bedwyr Williams  

Artes Mundi is hosting its 7th major international exhibition and the UK’s largest contemporary art prize. The prize is open to artists whose work explores social issues which relate to the theme of ‘The Human Condition’. 

More than 700 nominations were received for Artes Mundi 7. The six shortlisted artists are exhibiting in Wales at the National Museum Cardiff and Chapter Gallery, Cardiff between 21 October – 26 February 2017. 

Highlights of the prize show include the world premiere of Transitory Suppository: Act #I Another Leader by Nástio Mosquito and the premiere of Bedwyr Williams piece Tyrrau Mawr (2016).  

John Akomfrah OBE, presents his diptych film Auto da Fé (2016) investigating causes of migration while Lamia Joreige’s Under-Writing Beirut explores Lebanon’s complex history of conflict. Futurefarmers’ Amy Franceschini explores the politics of food production and video artist Neïl Beloufa’s presents a series of films questioning politics and power structures.

An international panel of judges selected the overall prize winner.  Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, announced UK, contemporary-artist John Akomfrah as the winner of the Artes Mundi 7 award, with a prize sum of £40,000, at a ceremony held at National Museum Cardiff on 26 January 2017.

We’ve produced an exclusive series of interviews with the six nominated artists. These films provide a first-hand account of their works, practices and perspectives.

Check out the trailer below, and watch the interviews in full on our video channel


John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah is a British artist living and working in London, his work explores the global diaspora, history, memory, colonialism and its legacy through lens-based media.

In Auto da Fé (2016), a two channel video projection, Akomfrah specifically uses the aesthetics of a period drama to consider the historical and contemporary causes of migration; in this work he focuses on religious persecution as a major cause of global displacement. The subtle historical references combined with sumptuous costumes, locations and sets, allude to the reality of migration and persecution that has taken place throughout the centuries.

You can see Auto da Fé at Artes Mundi 7, National Museum Cardiff, until 26 February 2017.

Watch the interview with John Akomfrah

Neïl Beloufa

Neïl Beloufa lives and works in Paris. His work includes installation, film and sculptural elements. Through his work he examines power structures in the age of technology.

In World Domination (2015) Beloufa invites participants to play a game which satirises world politics and global conflict.The playfulness of this work belies the seriousness of the issues it takes on, questioning politics and power structures. It exposes ways of decision making, flawed reasons and responses that, if real, could lead to catastrophic results.

Beloufa is also showing two further works, Monopoly (2016), which premiered at Artes Mundi 7 here and Counting Contest (Ongoing).

You can see World DominationMonopoly and Counting Contest at Artes Mundi 7, National Museum Cardiff, until 26 February 2017.

Watch the interview with Neïl Beloufa 

Amy Franceschini

Amy Franceschini is an American artist and founder of the collective FutureFarmers.

Since 2013 Futurefarmers have been leading Flatbread Society, a project centered on a communal space in which people from diverse cultures gather to make flatbread. Seed Journey (2013 - ongoing) focuses on the very seeds of grain used to make bread that were brought to Europe from the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago. In Seed Journey Futurefarmers return ancient seeds to where they originated in a boat journey that takes them from Oslo to Istanbul, stopping along the way to meet like-minded farmers, artisan bread makers and organisations.

You can see Seed Journey at Artes Mundi 7, National Museum Cardiff, until 26 February 2017

Watch the interview with Amy Franceschini / Futurefarmers 

Lamia Joreige

Lamia Joreige is a visual artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Beirut. Her work examines the representation of the Lebanese wars, and how Beirut’s past and present continues to affect the city and its people.

Lamia’s works in Artes Mundi 7 all come under the title Under-Writing Beirut. Like a palimpsest, the artists’ work incorporates various layers of time and existence, creating links between the vestiges that record places, previous realities and the fiction that reinvents them.

You can see Under-Writing Beirut at Artes Mundi 7, National Museum Cardiff and Chapter, Cardiff until 26 February 2017.

Watch the interview with Lamia Joreige 

Nástio Mosquito

Nástio Mosquito lives and works in Belgium, his practice includes performance, video, music, poetry and digital art. Challenging and unpredictable: his work deals head on with pertinent subjects such as war, sexual politics and globalisation.

For Artes Mundi 7 Mosquito premiered The Transitory Suppository: the first chapter of a larger project that revolves around the construction of a fictional scenario, in which a despotic leader of a country called Botrovia begins to propose what he sees as fast and practical solutions to world problems. The presentation embraces different elements including installation, video and graphics and is separated into four acts.

You can see The Transitory Suppository at Artes Mundi 7, Chapter, Cardiff until 26 February 2017.

Watch the interview with Nástio Mosquito 

Bedwyr Williams

Bedwyr Williams is an artist who lives and works in Wales, he often draws upon the anxieties and banalities of his own existence to develop his work.

For Artes Mundi 7 Williams premiered a new work Tyrrau Mawr (Big Towers) (2016). In this work Williams creates a fictional city around Cadair Idris (Idris’ Chair) near Dolgellau in North Wales. The city draws its inspiration from mega cities built all over the world to house expanding populations and to sate burgeoning state ambition in times of economic boom. The speed at which this kind of mass construction takes place is at once exhilarating and equally terrifying as these sprawling new cities displace people, communities, histories, creating and destroying in equal measures.

You can see Tyrrau Mawr at Artes Mundi 7, National Museum Cardiff, until 26 February 2017.​

Watch the interview with Bedwyr Williams 

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