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Voxpop: Art in Cardiff

The UK’s biggest art award returns to Cardiff this year with six artists competing to take home the £40,000 prize.

Artes Mundi is a competition with an international focus. There is no restriction for entry but in order to progress artists must engage with the human condition, often tackling global social issues through forms of contemporary visual art.

National Museum Wales which will host the exhibition from 21 October

National Museum Wales will host for Artes Mundi 7 from 21 October

Making Cardiff its home since 2004, this exhibition is the largest of its kind in the UK, offering greater reward than even the Turner Prize. Jane Hughes-Wynn, who works with Artes Mundi, says, “There has been much comment in the past about media and culture being very London-centric, Artes Mundi and organisations like it help to show that culture can and is succeeding across the UK.” Evidently it is particularly strong within the cultural community found in Cardiff.

Building on this Iwan Llwyd, from Arts Council Wales who provide some funding  for this exhibition, makes clear that now is precisely the time to be supporting the arts as Artes Mundi makes real and practical contributions to the economic, social and cultural life of Wales.

John Akomfrah, Auto Da Fé, 2016. Two channel HD colour video installation, 5.1 sound. 40 minutes 30 seconds. Edition of 5 + 2 Aps © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery

John Akomfrah, Auto Da Fé, 2016. Two channel HD colour video installation, 5.1 sound. 40 minutes 30 seconds. Edition of 5 + 2 Aps © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery

Artes Mundi are determined to see people engage with contemporary art and so over the course of the exhibition, from 21 October, there will be opportunities to get involved with tours, creative sessions and family workshops. Also working on a project exploring regeneration in post-industrial South Wales valleys, the team behind this prize aim to empower the disempowered through art within communities.

Bedwyr Williams, Tyrrau Mawr, 2016. 4K Video Installation, 20 video loop. Courtesy the artist and Limoncello Gallery

Bedwyr Williams, Tyrrau Mawr, 2016. 4K Video Installation, 20 video loop. Courtesy the artist and Limoncello Gallery

Making this year’s shortlist are artists from across the globe, including welsh multimedia artist Bedwyr Williams, Ghanian born filmmaker John Akomfrah and award-winning French-Algerian artist Neil Beloufa.

Neïl Beloufa, World Domination, installation view, We are safe now, ZERO…, Milan, 2015. Photo: Roberto Marossi

Neïl Beloufa, World Domination, installation view, We are safe now, ZERO…, Milan, 2015. Photo: Roberto Marossi

With the prominence of this prize in mind, and figures from Art Council Wales indicating that 78.6% of adults attend at least one arts event annually, we took the streets to see how important art really is in Cardiff.

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