Three Limerick artists are creating a New Citizens Anthem 2016 for Eva International, opening in April. The group require the public’s help in their venture. They hope to re-invent the anthem as an ice-cream van jingle.
The group consists of Sean Taylor, Deirdre Power and Mikael Fernstrom. They will present the Nice Screams project as part of the biennial, the pre-eminent exhibition of visual art in the country.
Curator Koyo Kouoh chose this and 57 other international artists for the 37th edition of Eva, named Still the Barbarians, which will open on April 16, at the City Gallery, Cleeve’s Factory and various other locations.
Nice Screams, a “socially engaged, collaborative project” by Power and Softday, Taylor and Fernstrom, has a €200 prize for the public to come up with a citizen’s anthem “celebrating Ireland of 2016”.
The New Citizens Anthem 2016 idea emerged from one Power, whose work has appeared in a number of copies of Eva, had for an ‘ideas choir’. Taking Ms Kouoh’s specific brief for the exhibition, which uses the post-colonial condition of Ireland as a foundation, corresponding with the Easter Rising remembrance, Power interacted with Softday regarding the project.
The idea of the contentious national anthem came from research, realising that the Dublin Evening Mail had a competition to find an anthem back in 1924. All of the submissions, however, were deemed inappropriate by the judges, including WB Yeats.
“We are not really questioning the anthem, we are more questioning the idea of who decides what it is. I think the premise of the prize is interesting, a simple one, open to the public, with a prize, so we are mimicking or appropriating that idea in a contemporary setting,” Deirdre said.
“I suppose it was questioning that idea of who decides on what represents what is Irish or nationalism. This is just a very fun, light-hearted approach to making art.”
Ideas and entries can be submitted in print or online, and Taylor and Fernstrom will then convert them into music and then finally a jingle will come to life.
“We are looking for something that is original and novel. We are also looking for a melody that is catchy,” Sean, co-programme leader of the MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment in LSAD, remarked.
“There has always been a controversy around the anthem. Given that it is the centenary of 1916 and we are looking at everything to do with our national identity, the question we are posing is, who owns an anthem, what is an anthem, what is it supposed to represent? We are drawing an analogy between the anthem and my personal favourite, which is the ice cream van chime. Because you could be in the middle of Amhran na Bhfiann and if an ice cream truck went past playing O Sole Mio – you’d be off.”
The finished New Citizens Anthem 2016 product will be a public performance of the anthem with the ice cream trucks giving out free ‘tricolour ice cream’ cones wrapped up in the chosen anthem lyrics.
See here for information on submitting entries.
Check out EVA international on Facebook here
Find more news stories like this one here