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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 18:46 GMT
40,000 prize shortlist on show
A look at some of the work by the seven shortlisted entrants for the Artes Mundi prize.

Work from artists hoping to win the second 40,000 Artes Mundi prize has been previewed in Cardiff.

Eight artists, chosen from 300 nominees, are competing for one of the world's biggest visual arts prizes.

They include Cardiff-based painter Sue Williams, who said it had been a "huge shock" to be chosen.

The winner will be announced next month and work will be on display at the National Museum of Wales from Saturday until 7 May.

The competition has drawn interest from artists in 60 countries.

The show over six galleries at the National Museum of Wales puts together multi-media work from South America, India, Taiwan, Scandinavia and Europe.

Ms Williams is the only British artist.

She said: "If I win the prize I'll buy my parents a new car!

"But to be honest I feel as though I have won already - Just making the shortlist is prize enough.

"To be told I had been selected was a huge shock, I didn't believe them at first. When my work was delivered I got all emotional, it was totally overwhelming."

Wish You Were Here by Sue Williams (copyright Sue Williams)
Sue Williams has been making art in Cardiff since she was a student in the 1970s

Ms Williams is from Cornwall, but has been based in Cardiff since she was an art student in the 1970s.

Selector and curator Ivo Mesquita said: "It was a process of selecting many things, like the level of exposure of the artists, and the consistency of their work.

"It's difficult to say they are the 'best' artists in the world at this time, but they are artists who have already achieved in their own right and are emerging internationally".

This is the second Artes Mundi prize and so far Welsh based artists have been selected for the shortlist on both occasions - despite independent assessment.

'Curry' by Subodh Gupta.
Selecting is like curating - you have to make choices
Artes Mundi curator Ivo Mesquita

"There was no assumption that a Welsh based artist would be included," said Artes Mundi director Tessa Jackson.

"There's plenty of talent in Wales and the issue for artists is getting noticed, if the work is in a gallery here and the critics are 400 miles away.

"What the Artes Mundi prize does is increase the critical mass of activity - it takes a major show to bring them (the critics) in - and this is a major show."

Chinese artist Xu Bin was the first winner of the prize in 2004 with work made from dust from Ground Zero in New York.

The prize is funded by 34 different sources.

The 2006 winner will again receive 40,000, which compares with 25,000 for the winner of the Turner prize at the Tate in London.

"Even the Turner prize wasn't automatically known in the early years, " added Ms Jackson. "It took time to establish itself and the Artes Mundi prize will too."

The public will be able to see the work from 11 February until 7 May.

Artes Mundi director Tessa Jackson reveals some of this year's exhibits

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