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The week in art news – Artes Mundi Prize awarded to all six shortlisted artists

Plus: MacKenzie Scott donates to 60 cultural organisations | Art-world figures recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours list | Germany returns pre-Columbian artefacts to Mexico

18 June 2021

This year’s Artes Mundi Prize is to be shared by the six shortlisted artists: Dineo Seshee Bopape, Prabhakar Pachpute, Carrie Mae Weems, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Firelei Báez and Meiro Koizumi. The prize money of £40,000 has been increased, in a one-off move, to £60,000. The organisers of the biennial prize for international artists making socially engaged art made the decision ‘in recognition of this time of exceptional social and economic upheaval’. Work by the winning artists is on display at the National Museum Cardiff and Chapter Arts Centre until 5 September. The sharing of prizes seems to be something of a trend in the UK: the 2019 Turner Prize was awarded to the four shortlistees and, in 2020, the Art Fund’s Museum of Year award was split between five museums.

MacKenzie Scott has donated $2.7bn to a host of charities – the third round of multi-billion dollar donations by the philanthropist in the past two years. More than 60 arts and cultural institutions have been selected for funding this time round, with a focus on ‘high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked’. Among them are the Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. As with Scott’s previous donations, the grants are unrestricted; here’s Leslie Ramos writing for Apollo in March on the impact of this decision.

The sculptor Phyllida Barlow, who has been awarded a damehood, is among a number of art-world figures to have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. The artist and writer Edmund de Waal and photographer Martin Parr have both been made CBEs, while OBEs went to the gallerist Sadie Coles and sculptor Veronica Ryan. The full list of honours can be viewed here.

A group of 34 pre-Columbian artefacts have been returned to Mexico, it was announced this week. The objects were handed over last month by two unnamed German individuals whose families had owned the objects, and who contacted the Mexican embassy in Germany to arrange their return. In a ceremony, the Mexican culture secretary lauded the restitution as an example of ‘respectful dialogue between nations’.

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