Jasmina Cibic is the winner of the MAC International Ulster Bank Prize

London-based, Slovenian artist Jasmina Cibic has been announced as the winner of the 2016 MAC International Ulster Bank Prize.

The largest contemporary art prize in Ireland attracted almost 1,000 entries from 40 countries across the world which were narrowed down to 18 shortlisted artists, most of whom were in the MAC for the announcement this evening. Jasmina Cibic collects the £20,000 Ulster Bank prize which has also been funded by Arts Council NI, Tourism NI and Belfast City Council.

The winning installation, titled Tear Down and Rebuild is the final chapter of a larger, three-chapter body of work called Spielraum, which comprises film, performance and installation works. Spielraum addresses the key elements in the creation of patriotic spectacle and investigates their re-purposing when ideology and the state that sponsored them collapse. This third and final section of the project is specifically concerned with the death of such structures. The script of Tear Down and Rebuild is composed of various quotes culled from political speeches, debates and proclamations, that muse upon the iconoclasm of architecture, art and monuments. The film itself focuses around the conversation of four characters: a Nation Builder, a Pragmatist, a Conservationist and an Artist/Architect.

The MAC International Ulster Bank Prize was presented by Welsh singer and commentator Charlotte Church, at a packed ceremony in the MAC this evening.

The winner was selected by an esteemed panel of international judges including Hugh Mulholland, curator at the MAC, Katerina Gregos, historian, curator and writer from Brussels and Marta Dziewańska, from the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw.

Sean Murphy, Managing Director, Branch Banking at Ulster Bank, title sponsor of the MAC International award, said:

“The arts make a major contribution to the culture and economy of Northern Ireland and awards like this give deserved recognition to outstanding international talent. We’re proud to support MAC International as a means for expression, innovation and because it is a really compelling exhibition. It’s an opportunity for as many people as possible to see some amazing artistic ability.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

“As principal funder of the MAC, we are delighted to lend our support to the MAC International. This project puts the pursuit of excellence in the arts to the fore and in particular, reminds us of the important role of Artists in producing great work that attracts audiences from home and abroad. MAC International is helping to build a valuable reputation for Belfast, and indeed Northern Ireland, as a place of note for international contemporary art practice. It is a great addition to our cultural treasure trove of attractions worth visiting Belfast to see and experience. I would encourage everyone to go along; it offers a terrific opportunity for people to engage with high-quality art and culture of an international standard.”

Belfast’s Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said:

“The global reach of the MAC International prize demonstrates that this unique Belfast venue has put our city on international arts map. Congratulations to all involved.”

Tourism Northern Ireland has funded MAC International as part of its Event Funding Programme since 2014.Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism Northern Ireland, said:

“MAC International continues to make a global contribution to the visual arts sector and provides a unique tourism opportunity for national and international visitors. The state of the art exhibition and work of Jasmina Cibic showcases the best of contemporary visual art and we expect this to be a driver for the culturally curious out of state visitors.”

Hugh Mulholland, Senior Curator at the MAC and MAC International judge said:

“MAC International has quickly positioned itself as a must-see exhibition with our visitors and is an important international platform for artists. The exhibition and the significant Ulster Bank prize on offer to an individual artist is a demonstration of the MAC’s continued commitment to supporting ambitious and challenging work within contemporary visual art practice.

“The calibre of the judging panel adds significant weight to the exhibition’s international credentials.

“I am very pleased to have been joined on the MAC International Jury by two incredibly well renowned international curators and we had a difficult job of selecting just 18 artists from over 800 high-quality submissions.”

Winning artist Jasmina Cibic said:

“I am so pleased and so surprised to have won this wonderful prize from the amazing international group of artists shortlisted. It’s my first time in Belfast and it is a wonderful city, The MAC shines a light on art and this prize helps celebrate the importance of arts and culture globally.”

Judge Katerina Gregos (Art Historian, Curator, and Writer from Brussels) said:

"I am delighted to have been part of the jury of this significant prize for contemporary art which provides a wonderful opportunity for international artists to showcase their work through an important exhibition in the magnificent spaces of the MAC, undoubtedly Belfast's leading art space. Since its establishment in 2014, the MAC International is fast becoming one of the exhibitions to spot exciting artists from different generations and geographies."

Fellow judge Marta Dziewańska (Curator and Writer, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw) added:

“MAC International is an extraordinary opportunity for artists: the economic reason is always tempting, but I guess the context of the city of Belfast and its turbulent history is even more so. Being a part of the jury this year for me has offered both challenge and adventure: it will not only inform my own practice, but will hopefully help me to grasp and understand this loaded and truly fascinating city.”

The MAC International Ulster Bank Prize is a biennial event which launched in 2014. The winner of the inaugural award was Northern Irish-born artist Mairead McClean, who is based in London.