It was announced today that contemporary-artist John Akomfrah OBE has been selected from a shortlist of 6 of the world’s most important artists to win the UK’s leading prize for international contemporary art. 

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Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, made the announcement awarding the artist  with a prize sum of £40,000, at a ceremony held at National Museum Cardiff.

Akomfrah’s work often explores global diaspora, history, memory, colonialism and its legacy through lens-based media. His work tries to give voice to those underrepresented communities and their universal stories told through the creation of sublime imagery, and evocative and immersive soundtracks.

His work Auto Da Fé (2016), 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.

Talking about winning Akomfrah said: “I am absolutely touched by this and enormously grateful for the chance it offers to finally finish off something I have been planning for over a decade. Over the years, Artes Mundi has  chosen  some very brilliant artists for this award:  all were important artists doing challenging and engaged work, and to join that group is a huge honour and responsibility.” 

The other shortlisted artists included Neïl Beloufa, Nástio Mosquito, Lamia Joreige, Bedwyr Williams & Amy Franceschini/Futurefarmers.

All of the artists whose work was nominated for the prize is currently on display in the Artes Mundi 7 exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff until the 26th February. For more information visit: https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/9102/Artes-Mundi-7/

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