Carrie Mae Weems
Carrie Mae Weems

Artes Mundi shortlisted artist teases exhibition with public art display at Chapter

The work speaks to ‘a collective, hopeful future’ beyond the pandemic

ARTES MUNDI shortlisted artist Carrie Mae Weems is displaying part of a new public art campaign in Chapter Arts’ lightbox and café.

The campaign is called RESIST COVID TAKE 6! and interrogates the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of colour.

Carrie Mae Weems RESIST COVID TAKE 6! public art campaign displayed in Times Square, New York (2020, curtsey of Artes Mundi)

Two large-scale posters are displayed in Chapter Arts’ lightbox on the front of the building while other pieces of the public art campaign will be displayed in the centre’s café once it re-opens.

“While speaking to the immediate context, the posters also reach beyond that in their messaging toward a collective, hopeful future,” says Nigel Prince, Director of Artes Mundi.

Artes Mundi is a Cardiff-based arts charity with an international outlook, aiming to support contemporary visual artists.

The charity is best known for its biennial exhibition and prize, which remains the UK’s largest contemporary art competition with £40,000 in prize money.

Carrie Mae Weems is an American artist and one of six shortlisted for the prize from more than 700 nominations.

While discussing which of Carrie’s work should be displayed, the lightbox and café spaces were seen as an opportunity for the public to see works outside of a gallery atmosphere.

During the onset of the global pandemic Carrie was commissioned to develop a new public art campaign in the US.

She was inspired by images of billboards, posters and garden signs from locations across America that offered a reflection on the pandemic.

The opportunity to reflect on how under-represented, low-income, Black and non-Black communities of colour had been impacted by the pandemic was seen as valuable for the exhibition, explained Nigel.

In a global premiere Carrie will show her photographic installation The Push, The Call, The Scream, The Dream in the virtual opening of the prize exhibition.

The virtual opening allows people to take part in guided video walkthroughs of each of the shortlisted artists’ selected works.

These works reflect on the late civil rights activist and American politician John Robert Lewis.

Carrie has previously exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frist Centre for Visual Art and is seen as one of the most influential contemporary artists today.

“Carrie Mae Weems has consistently developed a body of work which has investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems and the consequences of power for over 30 years,” Nigel adds.

The Artes Mundi exhibition will launch virtually on March 15 while a physical exhibition will open in Chapter Arts Centre, the National Museum Cardiff and g39 gallery in Oxford Street, Cardiff once Wales enters Tier 2.

Alongside the exhibition, a series of panel discussions discussing the artists’ work will be live-streamed alongside other events and activities.

The prize winner will be announced on April 15.