Sheela Gowda in lineup for top UK art prize

New Delhi: Artist Sheela Gowda who uses ordinary materials such as hair and cowdung among others to create artworks that refer to politics and society, figures among seven artists shortlisted for the 40,000 pounds Artis Mundi contemporary art prize this year.

Bangalore-based Gowda, 55, whose sculptures and installations combines formal language of western sculptures with an exploration of how materials can make specific reference to social and cultural context of India has been picked from 750 nominations from over 90 countries.

Miriam Backstrom (Sweden), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Phil Collins (England), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Darius Mikssys (Lithuania) and Apolonija Sustersic (Slovenia) are the other shortlisted artists for the fifth edition of Artes Mundi.

The National Museum of Art in Wales will from October 6 onwards showcase for 14-weeks, works by the seven artists shortlisted for the prize sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch as part of its Arts and Culture Programme, and publicly funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Cardiff Council.

An international judging panel will award the 40,000 pound prize midway through the exhibition in November 2012. All other shortlisted artists will receive a new award of 4,000 pounds each. A new partnership with Mostyn, the contemporary gallery in North Wales, will also see one of the shortlisted artists present a solo show there in the 2013.

"We are delighted with the exceptional quality of this shortlist…. I look forward to welcoming the artists to Wales and creating an exhibition in October that will give audiences the opportunity to engage with the most exciting international contemporary art," Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi`s Chief Executive and Artistic Director said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Gowda, an important voice in contemporary art today, has been part of many major international shows in the last two decades.

In 2007, her work was part of Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany. She was selected to present her work at "Fare Mondi/Making Worlds", the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 where Behold was exhibited for the first time. Her work was also selected to be part of the Thessaloniki Biennale and the Sharjah Biennial, both in 2009.

In addition she has shown her work in several curated exhibitions around the world. Her solo show "Therein and Besides" was shown at Iniva in London.

In 2010 the Artes Mundi 4 Prize was awarded to Yael Bartana who went on to represent Poland at the 2011 Venice Biennale (June-November 2011). The first Artes Mundi Prize was awarded in 2004 to Xu Bing, a Chinese born artist living in New York. In 2006 the Artes Mundi 2 Prize was awarded to the Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and in 2008 to the Indian artist N S Harsha.