When founded in 2002, the Artes Mundi Prize was first developed with the intention that it would allow, at an important stage in their career, established artists the freedom to develop a substantial body of new work or afford them the time to reflect on and consider new ideas. Subsequently, these have become some of the many ways in which individuals use the support the award creates to develop their practice.
The winner of the Artes Mundi Prize is selected from those artists shortlisted for the biennial exhibition by the panel of jurors made up of international curators, artists, and writers, in conjunction with visiting the exhibition and reviewing each of the artist’s practices over the previous five to eight years. In the history of the Prize so far, it has been awarded to a single artist who is considered to have consistently made thought-provoking work and significantly contributed to art that resonates with our times. However, in 2015, the Artes Mundi 6 winner, Theaster Gates upon accepting the award, decided to split the prize amongst his fellow shortlisted artists.