LIMERICK’S exhibition of visual art, eva International, has returned after a two-year absence.
A huge crowd turned out to witness eva’s launch in Limerick City Gallery of Art last Friday. The exhibition showcases work from 40 Irish and international artists, selected from over 2,000 proposals from 76 countries, at various locations around the city until August 12.
The deputy mayor, Cllr Tom Shortt, who launched it, said eva was a “flagship exhibition, not just locally but nationally”.
“The committee have carefully and steadily built a brand in the art world and an exhibition that has an international reputation,” he said.
“eva has connected Limerick to the bigger art world and has proved - and the Arts Council recognise this – its importance nationally as one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary art that we have in Ireland, proving Limerick to be a cultural centre.”
Forced into a restructuring by the Arts Council, who fund it, eva will now run as a biennial and has seen a full time director in Woodrow Kernohan appointed on a three year contract, a fact eva chairman Hugh Murray said would allow the festival to “plan for the future”.
“I am delighted eva is back and it was a bit of a trauma that it didn’t happen last year, but there is a fair amount of pragmatism behind it and with the funding we have, we should be able to do a better eva every two years,” he stressed.
Curator of this year’s exhibition, Annie Fletcher, who has styled it under the theme After the Future, said she was “delighted” with the reaction.
“I think people really noticed its loss and there was an awful lot of energy and support, which is wonderful,” she explained. “It is going through its new phase but I think it can escalate if anything. It has always been extraordinarily important, but it can compete on the international stage and you can see the hunger for it.”
Minister of State, Jan O’Sullivan TD, a former eva committee member, said it was “one of the high points of cultural life in Limerick”.
“It is always challenging, people sometimes don’t like what they see, but that is what art is about, making you question things and I think that is very positive,” she said.
“We are working on promoting Limerick as a city of culture and Minister Deenihan has had several meetings with people here to promote that. I think in some ways Limerick’s cultural activities are not as well known as they should be and it is our job to make them better known.”