Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been named as the winner of Artes Mundi 8. The Thai artist, best known for his feature-length films and a previous winner of the Palme d'Or, was selected from a shortlist also including Trevor Paglen, Bouchra Khalili, Otobong Nkanga and Anna Boghiguian by a panel of judges comprising Karen MacKinnon, Kataoka Mami, Laura Raicovich and Anthony Shapland alongside ArtReview's Oliver Basciano.
The judges praised Weerasethakul's allusive films and installations, which often carry undertones of political violence and censorship, for providing 'subtle tools of resistance' during times when it is 'sometimes not safe to talk about politics explicitly'. Acknowledging that the filmmaker was better known for his cinema, the judges wanted to 'pay homage to the vigorous interrogation in his gallery work of filmmaking, storytelling and the political and social position of the artist'.
The winner of the UK's biggest prize for contemporary art – Weerasethakul takes home £40,000 – was announced at a ceremony at National Museum Cardiff this evening. Accepting the award, the artist said that 'art is the practice to discover one’s own voice and to be able to speak honestly and truthfully. Truth in art fosters empathy and in the world we are living in we need more empathy as well as art that communicates real truths. I worked in the medium of film first because it was an escape, but then I discovered that it can be subversive. It is a language that can move beyond criticism and has the ability to mirror suffering fear and hope. Film creates another layer of identity that counters the other seemingly fixed narratives in our world.'