CALL FOR CURATOR: Collateral Event at the La Biennale di Venezia – 59th International Art Exhibition
On 1 August 2021, Zeljko Jovanovic, Chairman of the Board, and Tímea Junghaus, Executive Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) – as the Commissioners of the Collateral event – publish the present call for the Curator of the Roma Exhibition in 2022.
ERIAC has a unique and single mandate as the transnational, European-level organisation for the recognition of Roma arts and culture. ERIAC acts as an international cultural institute to support the exchange of creative ideas across borders, cultural domains and Roma identities in Europe and beyond. ERIAC embodies the success of the recognition of Roma leadership and Roma arts and culture.
The establishment of ERIAC encompasses the efforts made by the transnational, well-organised and perseverant Roma cultural movement and its non-Roma allies and supporters throughout Europe, who understand that social inclusion is not possible without cultural inclusion, and who know that the security and well-being of Europe’s largest minority is a precondition for the stability and prosperity of a democratic Europe.
Call for Curator
ERIAC is seeking the Curator of the Roma Exhibition in 2022, to demonstrate the institution’s founding principles – including the highest quality standards in arts and culture, and Roma leadership – at the most prestigious art event on the contemporary art scene, the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, which opens on 23 April 2022.
ERIAC seeks a courageous and visionary curator with a project proposal, which speaks deeply, sensitively and authentically from within the Roma subjectivity. The proposed project shall have the capacity to use the transformative power of art to make an impact on Roma lives. We foresee an initiative through which the widely fragmented, diverse and dispersed Roma communities may have a transformative and inspiring opportunity to transcend national boundaries and invite universal participation.
The accepted proposal will be presented in the framework of the ongoing ERIAC project RomaMoMA and therefore, priority is given to proposals that reflect on the issues RomaMoMA raises.
RomaMoMA is a contemporary art project initiating a forum for collaborative reflection on a future Roma Museum of Contemporary Art, with the involvement of local and international, Roma and non-Roma artists, cultural experts, social scientists and the civil sphere. RomaMoMA is a joint initiative of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and OFF-Biennale Budapest. In the form of a contemporary art project, by means of involving stakeholder communities, and exploiting the possibilities of collective thinking and discourse, as well as the critical and discursive potentials of contemporary art, it – “prefiguratively” – “creates” itself: an imagined and yet real space that is home to both the Roma arts and artists.
- A demonstrated history in curating and/or cultural management;
- Knowledge of the contemporary Roma arts and culture scene;
- Relevant education and experience;
- Ability to contact artists, prepare and manage the exhibition;
- Proven record in project administration and reporting;
- Demonstrated commitment to equal opportunities and diversity.
In the curatorial proposal, please include the following:
- Curator’s CV or biography (max. one A4 sheet);
- Curatorial concept: title, the themes the project is dealing with, information regarding the format and the realisation of the exhibition (max. two A4 sheets). The concept must be accepted and supported by all participating artists of the proposal.
- CV or biography of the participating artists (one A4 sheet; in the case of more than one participating artist, max. five A4 sheets in total), with selection of low-resolution images of their works;
- The description of the works and/or projects to be exhibited, with low-resolution images (max. five A4 sheets). In the case of selection, the project that will actually be realised and the participating artists must entirely coincide with those described in the approved proposal;
- Illustrative images of the works to be placed on exhibit, which meet the standards set for publication (minimum format 24 x 32 cm, 300 dpi, tiff/jpg file), with complete captions and photography credits;
- A chart of the exhibition budget of maximum 25,000 Euros, including curatorial and artists’ fees, material costs, installation, shipping, insurance, and other related expenses of the project.
Applications from all suitably qualified candidates, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial, ethnic or social origin, religion, or sexual orientation are welcome.
Candidates of self-declared Roma origin are particularly encouraged to apply.
Please send your proposal electronically, both as a Word document and as one pdf document in English. To be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for applications: 10 September 2021, 17.00 CET
To review the submitted proposals, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture has established an International Advisory Committee, composed of distinguished experts from within the ERIAC membership:
Daniel Baker, contemporary artist, curator of the FUTUROMA Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019);
Prof. Dr. Ethel Brooks, Associate Professor at Rutgers University (U.S), School of Arts and Science, and Chair of Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Research interests: Visual Cultures, Artistic Practice, Camps and Encampment, Digital Media and Belonging, Nationalism, Post-colonialism and Critical Race Theory;
Tímea Junghaus, Art historian, contemporary art curator, executive director of ERIAC, curator of the Roma Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale (2007);
Miguel Ángel Vargas, Art historian, theatre director, Flamenco researcher and member of Factoría Cultural – Polígono Sur, Institute for Culture and Arts of the Council of Seville.
Timeframe of the initiative:
October 2021 – under evaluation by the Venice Biennale;
1 October 2021 – 10 April 2022 curatorial preparation;
20-23 April 2022 – VIP and press preview and opening of the exhibition;
Subsequent guided tours, educational activities, accompanying events, promotion to be determined.
ERIAC has not yet concluded negotiations for the future space of the Roma Exhibition. The proposal shall be adaptable to a space of maximum 250 sqm, approx. 3.8 m internal height.
The First Roma Exhibition was established in 2007 in the frame of the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale. The exhibition, entitled Paradise Lost, curated by Tímea Junghaus, included the work of 16 Roma artists from eight European countries. It was a stance and claim in the existing frame of European Roma representation, and it proposed a transnational, contemporary and up-to-date vision for thinking about the Roma experience. It had over 200,000 visitors. The location was Palazzo Pisani S. Marina (piano nobile), Venezia, Cannaregio 6103, Calle delle Erbe, Opening period: 10 June – 21 November 2007.
In 2011, at the 54th Venice Contemporary Art Biennale, Maria Hlavajova curated the exhibition Call the Witness (based on Suzana Milevska’s original idea), with a flux of live “testimonies”— works of art, performances, talks, and conversations by and with artists, thinkers, and politicians. It engaged many distinguished non-Roma artists, writers, and curators, including Salman Rushdie and Arnout Mik. The location was Palazzo Zorzi, UNESCO Venice Office, Castello 4930, Venice, Opening period: 1 June – 9 October 2011.
FUTUROMA, curated by Daniel Baker, opened in 2019 within the 58th Venice Contemporary Art Biennale. FUTUROMA featured 14 Romani artists from eight countries: Celia Baker, Ján Berky, Marcus-Gunnar-Pettersson, Ödön Gyügyi, Billy Kerry, Klára Lakatos, Delaine Le Bas, Valérie Leray, Emília Rigová, Markéta Šestáková, Selma Selman, Dan Turner, Alfred Ullrich, László Varga. The exhibition examined the role of art in the enactment of social agency through an eclectic practice interrogating contemporary art discourse and its social implications via the reconfiguration of elements of the Roma aesthetic. The location was Dorsoduro 417 (Zattere), Fondamenta Zattere Allo Spirito Santo 417, Opening period: 11 May – November 24, 2019.
All the Roma Pavilions (in 2007, 2011, and 2019) were established in the frame of the Biennale as Collaborative Events. The Roma minority starts with an outrageous disadvantage even before arriving to Venice: The Pavilion of the largest European minority is considered a “collaborative event”, and not a national pavilion. Collaborative events pay a fee to be included in the programme. Roma do not have a national pavilion/building/space, while being the largest national minority to many of the exhibiting national representations. The precarious Roma minority’s presence at the Biennale is possible only if Roma pay the entrance fee as a collaborative event (25,000 Euros) to the Biennale Office, in addition to spending to rent the exhibition space in Venice for six months. Moreover, Roma need to allocate a significant amount on promotion in order for the rented external site to become visible within the Biennale structure. ERIAC aims for a permanent inclusion of Roma in the Biennale structure, and for a political alliance for the location of the Roma Pavilion. ERIAC is extending the pedagogy that there is a need, not only for another Roma Exhibition in 2022 (which is already an enormous opportunity), but a Roma Pavilion, which is a space for lobbying and networking, aiming for permanent presence for Roma within the Biennale structure. ERIAC will continue to address a waiver of the application fee and seek an alliance of supporters for a permanent location for future generations. The new and permanent Roma Pavilion would be the place to motivate the development of innovative projects and experimental cross-disciplinary work of Roma. In the context of the Venice Biennale, the Roma Pavilion has the potential to be recognised as the space of intuition, new ideas, discourses, and trends in European contemporary art.