NS Harsha, Melting Wit, 2006. Collection: Sakshi Gallery
The shortlisted artists for the third Artes Mundi Prize are focusing on some of the big problems facing mankind today – the destruction of the environment, AIDS and marginalised societies being a few of the topics they take on.
The prize, inaugurated in 2002, is awarded every two years to an artist or artistic team who has achieved recognition in their own country, and is now emerging internationally. Their work should explore the human condition and make a comment on humanity from alternative cultural perspectives.
"Our aim was to select exciting, emerging artists who provoke and debate the fundamental questions of life and art", said Isabel Carlos, one of the independent curators selecting the shortlist for the £40,000 prize, which will be awarded at the end of April 2008.
Lida Abdul, Tree. Courtesy of the artist
The shortlisted artists are:
Lida Abdul works in Kabul, Afghanistan, and California, primarily producing performance and video art. Her video works include Clapping with Stones and White House, which both reinterpret the nature of architecture in our surroundings and suggest alternative ways of looking at space and its cultural implications. Her works also reflect the physical changes present in her home country, Afghanistan.
Vasco Araújo, from Portugal, works in a variety of media, including video, installation and photography, exploring ideas of community and marginality. Gestures of seduction, cultural stereotypes, political characteristics as well as sexual identities have all been the focus of his work.
Mircea Cantor, Diamond Corn, 2005. © Mircea Cantor. Courtesy Mircea Cantor and Yvon Lambert, Paris / New York
Romanian artist Micea Cantor works in video, photography and other media, investigating the conventions of image and object making. His preoccupations are with immigration, national identity and wealth – the experiences of which differ enormously between individuals.
Dalziel and Scullion
Dalziel and Scullion, from Scotland, are strongly influenced by their location, exploring the bird song, bog plains, aquatic margins and intensive farming in their territory. Their work attempts to make us look anew at our natural habitat and question the consequences of our estrangement from it.
NS Harsha is an Indian artist who concentrates on painting, large scale installations and community projects. He particularly uses Indian miniature painting and popular art to convey a political commentary in vignette form.
Vasco Araújo, About being different. © Thomas Demand
Abdoulaye Konaté, from Bamako, Mali, combines painting and installation, particularly in textiles, to make powerful commentaries on political and environmental affairs. His current work focuses on the devastating effects of AIDS on both society and the individual.
Australian Susan Norrie’s work is fixed on her concern for the environment – industrial damage, nuclear testing and climate change. Her work is primarily video based.
Brazilian artist Rosângela Rennó recasts and transforms appropriated photographs to tell politically charged yet humane stories of the marginalised.
The Artes Mundi exhibition will open at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on March 15 2008. For more information see www.artesmundi.org.