John Akomfrah - Auto Da Fé_(c) Polly Thomas

Artes Mundi prize goes to artist exploring migration

Simon Stephens, 27.01.2017
John Akomfrah scoops £40,000 award for artwork
John Akomfrah has won the Artes Mundi 7 international art prize for his work exploring the historical and contemporary causes of migration.

The award was announced by Ken Skates AM, the cabinet secretary for economy and infrastructure, at a ceremony held on 26 January at Amgueddfa Caerdydd (National Museum Cardiff).

"Artes Mundi champions leading contemporary artists, from across the world, whose work relates to every aspect of our personal lives in a global society,” said Karen Mackinnon, the director of Artes Mundi.

“The Artes Mundi 7 Prize was awarded for Akomfrah’s presentation of Auto Da Fé and for a substantial body of outstanding work dealing with issues of migration, racism and religious persecution. To speak of these things in this particular moment feels more important than ever.”

Akomfrah said it was a huge honour to win an award that has a history of highlighting the the work of “important artists doing challenging and engaged work”.

Akomfrah’s work, alongside the other shortlisted artists’ contributions, are on display at National Museum Cardiff and Chapter until 26 February.

The winner of last year’s Artes Mundi was American artist Theaster Gates.