Press Releases


26TH OCTOBER 2018 - FEBRUARY 24TH 2019


The Artes Mundi 8 Prize and Exhibition in Cardiff  has opened its doors, presenting a major exhibition of works from five of the world’s most challenging and innovative contemporary artists.


The UK’s leading political art prize, Artes Mundi celebrates the work of international artists tackling the biggest issues facing our world, from near constant surveillance and entrenched racism, to industrial exploitation on a global scale and state control of individual freedoms.


Artes Mundi 8 is also the UK’s biggest art prize, with a prize fund of £40,000; the winner will be announced at an award ceremony in Cardiff on 24th January 2019.


Tackling social injustice and the human condition head on, artists in this year’s exhibition include

MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Trevor Paglen (USA), whose photography interrogates the secrecy and ubiquity of US surveillance. In his series, The Other Night Sky (2007 – ongoing), Paglen has spent the last eleven years working with a network of amateur astronomers to track the more than 200 classified military satellites that orbit the earth. Paglen is also exhibiting works from his series Limit Telephotography (2005 – ongoing), documenting secret US government bases and operations, often from extreme distances.


Bouchra Khalili (Morocco/France) examines revolutionary histories and uses her work to give a platform to marginalised communities. A UK premiere for Artes Mundi 8, Twenty-Two Hours (2018), follows two young African-American women investigating how, in the 1970s, celebrated French writer Jean Genet was called to action by the Black Panther Party, and travelled secretly to the US to support their struggle for racial equality.


Cannes Palme d’Or winning filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand) is exhibiting the UK premiere of his film Invisibility (2016). The film, shown across two screens, appear dreamlike and meditative, but reveal the ghosts of Thailand’s political past, and the dark underside of political corruption that continues today.


Anna Boghiguian (Canada/Egypt) takes over the first gallery with a new monumental installation concerning the steel industry, moving past the faceless global industry and into the communities whose lives encompass it, including nearby Port Talbot, Wales.


Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria) has produced an interactive, site-specific installation, that links the west’s everyday luxuries with the core elements and minerals they’re made from. Nkanga’s installation is mirrored by a 7-metre-long tapestry that literally weaves together our materialism with industrial exploitation and the detrimental environmental impact of mass industry on African communities.


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.


Karen MacKinnon, Artes Mundi’s Director and Curator, said    “Artes Mundi 8 brings together the work of five outstanding international artists. Through their work they examine urgent topical issues such as globalisation, colonialism, environmental concern, resistance, statehood and individual autonomy. Through a wide range of practices that vary from the poetic to the rhetorical, these artists all engage poignantly with what it means to be human in an increasingly tumultuous world. In works that explore the global steel trade from Port Talbot, Wales to Jamshedpur, India, the French poet Jean Genet’s work with the Black Panther movement, state surveillance, autonomy and our relationship with the earth and its resources, there is humour, surrealism and provocation. But what connects the work in this diverse exhibition is its relevance and urgency, as the artists comment on and question the spirit of the age."


The winner of Artes Mundi 8 will be announced on 24th January 2019 at an award ceremony in Cardiff. The international panel of judges for Artes Mundi 8 is chaired by Oliver Basciano; Editor (International) at ArtReview and ArtReview Asia.


The Panel includes: 

Oliver Basciano, International Editor, ArtReview and ArtReview Asia

Katoaka Mami, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

Laura Raicovich, independent curator based in New York City

Anthony Shapland, Creative Director, g39, Cardiff


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.





Anna Boghiguian was born in 1946, an Armenian in Cairo, yet never adopted the city as her only home, continuing to have a conflicting relationship with the city today. Living a nomadic life, the artist has constantly moved from city to city across the globe, from Egypt to Canada and India to France. Her work offers a unique third person yet omniscient view of modern urban communities. Anna Boghiguian’s works are dense compositions. In them are often text, images, collected photographs and other documentary material closely interwoven. The intense colours and her spontaneous and expressive drawings are reminiscent of diary entries. They seem to visualize and record momentary experience and perception in its various facets.

Recent exhibitions include Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection, MoMA, New York, 2017.



Bouchra Khalili is a Moroccan-French artist. Born in Casablanca, she later studied Film at Sorbonne Nouvelle and Visual Arts at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy. She lives and works in Berlin and Oslo. Working with film, video, installation, photography, and prints, Khaliliʼs practice articulates language, subjectivity, orality, and geographical explorations. Each of her projects investigates strategies and discourses of resistance as elaborated, developed, and narrated by individuals, often members of political minorities. Khaliliʼs work has been internationally exhibited such as major survey exhibition “Blackboard”, Jeu de Paume, Paris (2018);  documenta 14 (2017); “The Mapping Journey Project”, solo exhibition, MoMa, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); “Foreign Office”, solo show at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015).



Otobong Nkanga is a visual artist who began her art studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and continued at the École Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Otobong Nkanga's drawings, installations, photographs and sculptures variously examine ideas around land and the value connected to natural resources. Her works, activities and performance permeate all kinds of media and motivate photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video, though all the different works are thematically connected through architecture and landscape. As a human trace that testifies of ways of living and environmental issues, architecture and landscape act as a sounding board for narration and for ‘the performative’.



Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image - making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures. Paglen has had solo exhibitions at Vienna Secession, Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Van Abbe Museum, Frankfurter Kunstverein, and Protocinema Istanbul, and participated in group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, and numerous other venues. He is the author of five books and numerous articles on subjects including experimental geography, state secrecy, military symbology, photography, and visuality.



Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he is active in promoting experimental and independent film-making through his company Kick the Machine. His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes, including two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture.