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I Sing the Body Electric

Wednesday 14th February, 2018

The Artists in Schools Programme, titled, I Sing the Body Electric, run by EVA International in collaboration with Limerick Arts Office, will take place in three schools in the Municipal District of Newcastle West.

EVA International is pleased to present I Sing the Body Electric, an Artists in Schools Programme directed by Jennie Guy. This programme will see contemporary art curators work with children to explore ideas of electricity, power and nationhood – some of the key themes of the upcoming 2018 edition of EVA International. I Sing the Body Electric will give students from three West Limerick National Schools a first-hand, behind-the-scenes understanding of the role of the curator, working with artist Clare Breen and curators Maeve Mulrennan and Orlaith Treacy.

Jennie Guy, who is curating I Sing the Body Electric as part of her ongoing project Art School, says, “I am delighted to be curating I Sing the Body Electric for EVA International. This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to bring curators into a primary school context – I love the idea of being able to open this dimension of the subject of contemporary art with students who could become the next generation of artists and curators in twenty years time.”

Working through the themes of electricity, power, and selfhood, I Sing the Body Electric introduces the main themes of the 38th EVA International that open to the public in Limerick city on 14 April and runs until 8 July 2018. The 2018 edition of EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated By Inti Guerrero, takes its starting point from Keating’s Night Candles are Burnt Out (1927) by Irish artist Seán Keating, which depicts the construction of Ardnacrusha, a hydroelectric dam built on the border of County Limerick in 1927. The painting will feature alongside both contemporary and historical artworks that connect to related ideas of nationhood, electricity, and power.

I Sing the Body Electric will take place with one artist and two curators working in three different schools in Limerick. Artist, Clare Breen will work with the third and fourth classes in Scoil Íde Naofa, Raheenagh National School, Raheenagh, Ballagh, Co. Limerick to consider exhibitions as an opportunity to come together socially to consider objects, images and ideas rather than static, finished artworks. In these workshops students will look closely at some of the artworks that will be important for EVA 2018, and will reflect on some of the curatorial strategies that help us more carefully consider our bodies in space. At the end of the workshops, the students will work together to produce their own exhibition in their classroom.

Curator, Maeve Mulrennan, Head of Visual Arts at Galway Arts Centre, will work with the sixth class students at Mahoonagh National School, Castlemahon, Co. Limerick. They will look at exhibition making under the theme of ‘coming of age’ using Seán Keating’s Night Candles Are Burnt Out. Pupils will discuss nation-building and national identity in relation to personal identity and selfhood at a time of transition, moving from primary to secondary education and becoming teenagers. With these themes of selfhood and identity in mind, the class will create artworks and curate an exhibition.

Curator, Orlaith Treacy will invite the pupils of Ahalin National School, Ahalin, Ballingarry, Co. Limerick to become curators through a series of presentations and discussions that explore contemporary art and curating. The students will devise their own exhibition drawing on the works generously on loan from the Limerick City Gallery of Art, Drawing Collection.

Director of EVA International, Matt Packer says, “We’re delighted to be working with Jennie Guy and some of Ireland’s most innovative curators to develop a project for schools that extends the ambition of the biennial.”

I Sing the Body Electric is an Art School project directed by Jennie Guy for EVA International 2018 in collaboration with Limerick Arts Office. The project is run as part of Limerick Culture and Creativity Plan 2017 – Creative Ireland Programme 2017 - 2022.

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