fbpx CIRCA PRIZE 2023


1-30 September, CIRCA 20:23

Throughout September, 30 artists will have their work exhibited on screens in London, Berlin and Milan, with £40K awarded to the next generation of creative talent. Watch the films below and vote for your favourite to win the £10K public vote powered by Piccadilly Lights

Hope is here. Hundreds of artists, producing an outpouring of optimism, have led an unprecedented response to the CIRCA PRIZE 2023. The III edition of the prize, which will award £40,000 to the next generation of creative talent, unearthed over 1,000 films from across the planet, each a light shining amid the darkness in a constellation of collective belief.

The CIRCA PRIZE 2023 invited a global community of artists, performers, poets, activists, architects, gamers and filmmakers to respond to the CIRCA 20:23 manifesto, Hope: The Art of Reading What Is Not Yet Written. In response, the entrants produced an awe-inspiring variety of work that broadened and deepened our sense of how hope is felt today: as freedom, as resilience, as unity, as embodied and transcendent belief, and as a creative force animating the struggle to build new worlds.

“We received outstanding artworks from the next generation of artists around the globe – a testament to the future of art and culture,” says Sir Norman Rosenthal, Chair of the CIRCA Advisory Council, who has championed rising artistic talent for several decades. From this far-reaching field, we can now reveal a shortlist of 30 artists from over 20 countries including Ghana, India, Vietnam, Lithuania, Albania, France, the U.S. and the U.K. The finalists are: Akiş Ka, Annie Rockson, Blerta Kambo, Cemile Sahin, Conor Ackhurst, Gabriella Hirst, Gaby Sahhar, Harmeet Singh Rahal, CB Hoyo, Keiken, Prem Sahib, Linyou Xie, Matthew Stone, Tizintizwa, Rashaad Newsome, JJ Agcaoili & Xin Wen, Deividas Vytautas, Jérémie Danon, Joseph Noonan-Ganley, Rene Matić, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Rita Mawuena Benissan, Phuong Thao Nguyen, Rosie McGinn, Tanya V. Abelson, Lorenzo Silvestri, Theo Triantafyllidis, Tony Albert, Yiannis Pappas and Liesel Burisch.



From 1 to 30 September 2023, each artist will display overlapping and intersecting interpretations of hopefulness at 20:23 local time on London’s Piccadilly Lights and screens in Berlin (Limes, Kurfürstendamm) and Milan (EssilorLuxottica). This includes reflecting hope as the power of imagination necessary to project ourselves into some other future: out of body, out of our individual sense of personhood, and into ecstasy. “Hope is about imaging and knowing the self outside of the situations we are burdened with,” writes London-based shortlisted artist Rene Matić, whose work Born British, Die British explores their Caribbean-British heritage by reclaiming a right-wing slogan. “We would not be here without hope. It is a smart move – a call to action – it is all some of us have. It runs through the veins of my practice.”

Like Matić, many artists reflected hope’s ability to shine brightest in the dark. They revealed a force that is not grounded in ignorance, nor indifference toward worldly suffering, but arises from these places, often on the part of the marginalised or as a radical force for representation and the power to banish the unjust. “Hope is the strength to carry on; it’s not a given. Resistance can be vocal or dormant – quietly waiting for the right time,” says Phuong Thao Nguyen, a Vietnamese artist based in France and Germany, whose work highlights villages cohabiting with nature at the peripheries of political or economic power. “Hope is living through the horror despite it all.”

Through these 30 works, hope acts on varied bodies and from all-embracing identities to emerge as the freedom to choose, dream, and act on those dreams. It is a cosmological force acting on humans and our earthly neighbours, as the inclination to nurture life amid systems that sow degradation, to plant trees under whose shade one will never sit. Ultimately, hope has power because it refuses to deal with certainty, instead embracing the future as an unknown terrain with the potential for otherness and euphoria. It allows us to value not knowing, being in the process of learning, and trusting ourselves. “Hope is daring to be optimistic in the face of the unknown. Hope is not always knowing the path forward, but trusting that one exists,” write JJ Agcaoili and Xin Wen, a London-based artist duo whose work depicts the struggle to break free from confines. “It is an intangible yet palpable force that drives every attempt, individually and collectively.


In the coming weeks, a jury that brings together previous CIRCA artists and long-term collaborators including Sir Frank Bowling, Douglas Gordon, Anne Imhof, Michèle Lamy, Shirin Neshat, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Josef O’Connor, Olu Odukoya, Sir Norman Rosenthal and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot will decide who wins the £30k prize generated from previous years #CIRCAECONOMY print sales, before the winner is announced at an award ceremony held in Piccadilly Circus, London, during Frieze Week on Monday 9 October 2023. 

The CIRCA PRIZE winner will receive £30,000 to support their future practice alongside a new trophy designed by Ai Weiwei, who first launched the CIRCA free public art programme in October 2020. “This year’s entrants are beyond anything we had imagined we’d find,” says CIRCA founder Josef O’Connor. “It’s blown everyone away just how far-reaching, incisive, and advanced each of their practices are, with experienced artists joining just-emerging talent to weave together this epic display of hope.”





The CIRCA 2023 Manifesto ‘Hope: The Art of Reading What Is Not Yet Written‘ broadcasting on London’s Piccadilly Lights © CIRCA


A jury that brings together previous CIRCA artists and long-term collaborators including Sir Frank Bowling, Douglas Gordon, Anne Imhof, Michèle Lamy, Shirin Neshat, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Josef O’Connor, Olu Odukoya, Sir Norman Rosenthal and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot will decide who wins the £30K CIRCA PRIZE generated from previous years #CIRCAECONOMY print sales.

In addition to this, an online public vote powered by Piccadilly Lights will determine the winner of an additional £10K. Watch the films and vote for your favourite CIRCA PRIZE finalist before midnight on 30 September 2023. Both prize winners will be announced during a LIVE! ceremony in Piccadilly Circus on Monday, 9 October at 8pm GMT. You’re all invited.