Vital voice

Carrie Mae Weems’ photography captures engrained cultural disparity
By Finn Blythe | Art | 13 April 2021

Carrie Mae Weems – The Push, The Call, The Scream, The Dream, 2020

Artes Mundi, the UK’s largest international contemporary art prize, is back with its ninth iteration this month. Due to ongoing restrictions, the exhibition of shortlisted artists will launch digitally from the 15th March, after which it will be on view at three different venues: National Museum Cardiff, Chapter and g39. Among the names competing for this year’s £40,000 first prize is American artist Carrie Mae Weems, who will be presenting a new photography series, The Push, The Call, The Scream, The Dream. 

The work reflects on the late civil rights activist John Robert Lewis within the context of the present day, while a selection of large-scale pieces from her recent public art campaign examines the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of colour. Best known for her Kitchen Table series in the early 90s, Weems is now at the top of her game, producing poignant works to help us make sense of these times.

Artes Mundi 9 will run digitally from 15th March – 5th September 2021, while the physical exhibition will only open once Cardiff enters Tier 2. The winner will be announced via a virtual ceremony on the 15th April. 

Carrie Mae Weems Untitled (Playing harmonica) 1990-1999 © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

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