EVA International Revisits Blood Feuds and Polluted Rivers
The second phase of the Irish biennial centres on two inspiring archival projects.
Eighty Students of Tibet University, Lhasa, Shirts (1996). Photograph of installation from the Betsy Damon Archive: Keepers of the Waters (Chengdu and Lhasa). Courtesy Asia Art Archive.
Phase 2 of the 39th EVA International biennial will open from 2 July to 22 August in venues around Limerick, Ireland, and online.
Curated by Merve Elveren, Phase 2 includes 14 presentations built around the theme of 'The Golden Vein', a term used in the 19th century to describe Limerick's agricultural bounty. The programme, entitled Little did they know, features works exploring the contested value of land and water.
It centres around two archival research projects: Kosovo Oral History Initiative's Reconciliation of Blood Feuds Campaign 1990-1991 and Asia Art Archive's Betsy Damon Archive: Keepers of the Waters (Chengdu and Lhasa).
Starting in 1990, The Reconciliation of Blood Feuds Campaign allowed women to enter male chambers to mediate between ethnic Albanian families in Kosovo. The tactic undermined a traditional 'code of honour' that required vengeance, creating space for forgiveness and unity.
Betsy Damon is an environmentalist and artist who brought her community-based water activism project Keepers of the Waters to Chengdu and Lhasa in 1995 and 1996. Damon invited artists including Song Dong, Yin Xiuzhen, and Zhang Shengquan to create performances and installations that would raise awareness about the health of the Funan and Lhasa rivers.
The other artists presenting in Little did they know are: Diego Bruno, Barış Doğrusöz, Melanie Jackson & Esther Leslie, Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho, Hana Miletić, Deirdre O'Mahony, Richard Proffitt, Mario Rizzi and Aykan Safoğlu.
Additional projects include a video by Eimear Walshe on sexual politics that will be shared through a postal subscription and sculptures by Áine McBride.
EVA International was founded by Limerick-based artists and academics in 1977 and took place annually until 2010. In response to the pandemic, the 39th edition was divided into three phases.
Phase 1 ran from 18 September to 15 November and included presentations by Bora Baboci, Yane Calovski, Eirene Efstathiou, Laura Fitzgerald, Michele Horrigan, Emily McFarland, Driant Zeneli, and Women Artists Action Group. —[O]