MAC International 2016 winner to be announced by Charlotte Church

Welsh singer-songwriter Charlotte Church will be in Belfast later this month to announce the winner of the 2016 MAC International Ulster Bank Prize, the biggest contemporary art prize in Ireland.

The singer turned campaigner and commentator will hand over the £20,000 prize to the winner of the Ulster Bank-sponsored competition at the MAC on October 27.

This is the second MAC International award – which is one of the most significant in the UK. The award was launched in 2014 when it was won by Northern Irish-born artist Mairead McClean for her work No More, which incorporated images and sounds from the 1970s re-heard and re-viewed through computer generated tele-visuals transmission signals.

The overall winner of the 2016 award will be chosen by an international judging panel from a shortlist of 18 artists who successfully made it through the open submission. In total, over 1,000 artists entered the competition from more than 40 countries across the world.

The shortlisted artists will showcase their work in an exhibition which will run across all three MAC galleries from October 27, 2016 until February 19, 2017. This will feature the very best of contemporary visual art including painting, photography, film and installation. Among the countries represented by the 18 artists are Brazil, Iceland, France, the US, the UK and Northern Ireland.

Charlotte Church, whose 1998 debut album Voice Of An Angel sold over 600,000 copies, making her the youngest artist ever to top the classical chart, will be the special host on the night of the award presentation.

The soprano began her career as a classical singer at the tender age of 12 after being noticed during an impromptu performance on a local TV talent show. After a successful career as a classical singer, Charlotte turned pop star in 2005 with the release of her first pop single Crazy Chick and the album Tissues and Issues. The outspoken singer is a regular commentator on contemporary issues and is a high profile political campaigner around issues such as Brexit and the anti-austerity campaign.

Ahead of her visit to Belfast, Charlotte said: “It is great to see an award such as MAC International recognising and honoring professional artists from around the globe and giving them a public platform to showcase their work. Belfast has emerged in recent years as a city which is changing for the better and I can’t wait to be there at the end of the month.”

Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive of the MAC said: “We are delighted to have Charlotte Church as our special guest for this important occasion. Charlotte is an amazing artist in her own right and an important campaigner on many issues close to our hearts. We are thrilled that she’ll hand over this year’s MAC International Ulster Bank prize, which has now been positioned as one of the leading arts prizes in Europe.”

A full list of the shortlisted artists can be found here.