Open call for proposals

EVA International — Ireland’s Biennial 2016

Still (the) Barbarians

16 April–10 July 2016

Curator: Koyo Kouoh

Deadline: 15 June 2015

37th edition of EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art will be curated by Koyo Kouoh, independent curator and founding artistic director of RAW Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar, Senegal.

2016 is a meaningful year for Ireland as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising that began on 24 April 1916, a moment of great significance in the struggle for liberation from British colonial rule. Responding to the context of the centenary, EVA 2016 will be titled Still (the) Barbarians and will investigate the post-colonial condition of Ireland as a point of departure from where artistic reflections, critical redefinitions and political transformations are articulated.

The biennial programme will address artistic, architectural, literary and critical positions that interpret colonial effects on the psyche, landscape and imagination, and that continue to shape our present condition. Diasporic dispersions followed by invasive disruptions of social, cultural, religious and political orders have long been subject matter for artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, scientists and activists. Coinciding with the centenary of the Easter Rising, Still (the) Barbarians aims to draw a concentric artistic and political cartography, mapping the conflations and confines of the global post-colonial typology with Ireland as its central starting point.

The convecting discourses on racism as a foundational and enduring system for exclusion and exploitation will appear throughout the biennial as the framework on which to build contemporary fictions and future utopias of togetherness. Still (the) Barbarians will further examine the relationships between the various forms of mental, physical and institutional decolonization across the world in comparison to Ireland as the primary testing territory of Western colonization systems before their expansion to the global map. Informed by the longstanding and persistent unease with forms of subjugation, alienation, humiliation and dispossession and their inevitable result in war and terror, the curatorial project wishes to engage with practices displaying aesthetics of subversion, transcendence and reappropriation.

Commenting on her appointment and curatorial approach to Still (the) Barbarians, Koyo Kouoh said: “Ireland, which I consider the first and foremost laboratory of the British colonial enterprise, has always been a fixture in my thinking on the psychological and political effects a system designed to humiliate and alienate can have on peoples’ souls. The coincidence of EVA 2016 with the centenary celebrations of the Easter Rising provides a welcome opportunity to engage artists and thinkers in this exciting discussion.”

Artists’ projects will be selected through an open call for proposals that launches today. Proposals are invited from individual artists or groups in response to the curatorial project Still (the) Barbarians and the context of the Easter Rising centenary. Proposals can be in any medium and for the presentation of existing works or production of new projects. Selected artists will receive exhibition fees and production budgets as appropriate. The online application process is now open and closes at noon IST on Monday 15 June 2015. Enquiries about the application process or curatorial project can be submitted to@">@ before Friday 15 May.

About Koyo Kouoh
Koyo Kouoh is an independent curator, founding artistic director of RAW Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar and curator of FORUM, the education programme at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London and New York. She served in the curatorial teams for documenta 12 (2007) and 13 (2012), and recent projects include Body Talk: Feminism, Sexuality and the Body in the work of six African women artists, WIELS, Lunds Konsthall, 49N6E FRAC Lorraine (2015–16); Precarious Imaging: Visibility surrounding African Queerness, RAW Material Company (2014). In collaboration with Rasha Salti, Kouoh is currently working on Saving Bruce Lee: African and Arab Cinema in the Era of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy, a three-year research, exhibition and publication project to be held at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow in June 2015 and September 2016. She lives and works in Dakar and Basel.

Image: Koyo Kouoh. Photograph: Antoine Tempé, Courtesy EVA International.