Image credit: left to right, Hugh Murray (Former Chair of EVA), Ursula Walsh, Tom Fitzgerald and Charlie Harper (founding members), artist David Lilburn (artist), Matt Packer (Director of EVA International), Mike Fitzpatrick (Chair of EVA) and Áine Nic Giolla Coda (artist) as EVA International celebrates 40th year Photo: Deirdre Power.
EVA International celebrates 40th year in Limerick City
On Thursday 7 December, EVA International celebrates 40th year in Limerick city. Since 1977 EVA has been staging contemporary art exhibitions in Limerick city. EVA began in the Picture Gallery of what was the Caregie Library in Pery Square (now the Limerick City Gallery of Art) and it has grown to be presented in many venues and sites across the city and beyond, attracting artists and curators from around the world. The exhibition takes place every two years and is recognised internationally as Ireland’s Biennial of contemporary art.
To celebrate 40 years in Limerick, EVA hosted a day-long birthday celebration – looking back over the past 40 years, decade by decade. EVA will bring together participating artists and founding members from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and noughties to hear their stories of EVA from jail to marriage proposals. Speakers include Charles Harper (artist and founding member), Alice Maher (artist), Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits (Young EVA participant).
Chair of EVA, Mike Fitzpatrick said, “EVA International has a proud history of sharing contemporary art in Limerick. The rich history of EVA over the last 40 years includes many interactions with artists from around Ireland and the world with the citizens of Limerick, creating artworks on sites throughout the city, from tall buildings to the river, even underground, but mainly we hope in the imagination of the audience. Over the coming editions, EVA plans to continue to grow and evolve, our mission is to connect with people and to culturally enrich our lives.”
EVA International was previously known as ev+a, Exhibition of Visual Art and was founded by Limerick-based artists and academics. The aim of the original committee was to show the work of contemporary visual artists and “provide the public with an opportunity to visit and experience an exhibition not normally available in the region and […] stimulate an awareness of the visual arts here.” Initially, the exhibition took place annually and artworks were selected from an open call for submissions by a panel of Irish artists and arts professionals. In 1979 Sandy Nairne was appointed as the first international guest curator of the exhibition and this model has continued since then. In 1986 the Young EVA programme was introduced to develop younger audiences, encouraging their engagement with an understanding of contemporary art. Young EVA is widely acknowledged as being the first encounter that many future artists and arts professionals had with art in Limerick including Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits. Since 1977, 2,041 artists have participated in EVA International and it has frequently been the first major public exhibition for emerging Irish artists, who have subsequently gone on to become internationally recognized artists. In 2016 EVA attracted a record-breaking audience of over 100,000 and estimates an audience of 150,000 for the 2018 edition. The 2018 edition of EVA International will take place from 14 April to 8 July 2018.
For more strories on EVA International click here
For more on EVA International click here