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£20k Belfast arts award goes global

By Ivan Little

Published 29/07/2016

Mariah Garnett’s Full Burn video image submission
Mariah Garnett’s Full Burn video image submission

It's only in its second year but already a £20,000 award organised by the Metropolitan Arts Centre in Belfast has established itself as a major global competition attracting 1,000 submissions from 40 countries.

Eighteen professional artists from the likes of Brazil, Slovenia, France and Iceland have been shortlisted for the Mac International prize, which is sponsored by Ulster Bank and is the biggest contemporary art award in Ireland.

One of the finalists is based in Northern Ireland. French photographer Frederic Huska has exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, London and Toronto, and recently completed a PhD at the Ulster University in Belfast, where he is now a visiting lecturer at the School of Art.

Another of the finalists is Mariah Garnett, who has family ties to Belfast, and one of her video images in her submission is of a man in a balaclava set against a backdrop of fire.

Mac senior curator Hugh Mulholland, who is on the judging panel, said: "Mac International has quickly positioned itself as an important international platform for artists, as well as a must-see exhibition with our visitors. The exhibition and the significant prize on offer is a demonstration of the Mac's continued commitment to supporting ambitious work."

Roisin McDonough, chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, applauded the prize: "Mac International is helping to build a valuable reputation for Belfast, and indeed Northern Ireland, as a place of note. It is a great addition to our treasure trove of attractions."

Tourism Northern Ireland is one of the funders of the prize and Aine Kearney from the organisation said: "With 38% of overnight visitors participating in cultural activities in 2015, Mac International presents a unique opportunity for national and international visitors."

One of the judges, art historian Katerina Gregos, said: "The Mac International has become one of the top exhibitions to spot exciting artists from different generations and geographies."

The shortlisted entries for 2016

  • Jasmina Cibic - Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Ismar Cirkinagic - Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Teresa Cos - London, UK
  • Angel de la Rubia - Brussels, Belgium
  • Wojtek Doroszuk - Rouen, France
  • Mariah Garnett - LA, USA
  • Joy Gerrard - London, UK
  • Núria Güell - Barcelona, Spain
  • Darren Harvey-Regan - London
  • Halloubi Hamza - Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Frederic Huska - Belfast, UK
  • Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir - Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Ana Mendes - London, UK
  • Tom Molloy - Notre Dame de Bondeville, France
  • Henrique Neves Lisbon, Portugal
  • Beto Shwafaty - Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Emma Talbot - London, UK
  • Nikolas Ventourakis - London, UK

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