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01 Mar 2022

COAL Art and Environment Prize 2022

The international call for the COAL PRIZE 2022 for Art and Environment has been launched, on the theme - ON THE OCEANS.

The ocean is our geographic, dreamlike and political horizon. While the United Nations proclaimed the Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, the COAL Prize 2022 invites artists from around the world to explore these submerged universes to make them accessible to as many people as possible; to reveal what is playing out in the belly of the ocean, from its abyss twenty thousand leagues under the sea to its surface, to give to see and feel what is still unknown; and to imagine new concrete actions to rekindle resilience with the water worlds.

A landscape without a stable character or limit, in perpetual movement, a place where everything changes yet where nothing really changes, both quite concrete and almost abstract, the ocean seems to overflow its geographical definition to designate a sensitive, deeply intimate experience yet widely shared. An experience that conjures up what Romain Rolland called “oceanic feeling”, this emotion which annihilates temporality and space, and which immerses us in a great whole.

This feeling of being just a wave in a limitless ocean is more than ever exacerbated by the ecological context, the issues of which are still often beyond our perception and transcend our human scales of space and time. Among these imperceptible phenomena that are well underway, the transformation of the oceans in the face of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity constitutes a real challenge both for taking action and for raising awareness of sometimes elusive processes. Warming of the oceans, rising water levels, acidification and deoxygenation of the seas, overexploitation of fishery resources, plastic pollution, degradation of marine habitats, proliferation of invasive species… The ocean is succumbing to multiple threats.

The ocean is, however, the basis of the global phenomena that makes our planet habitable. It regulates the water cycle, weather movements, and stabilizes the climate by absorbing more than half of humanity’s CO2 emissions. It constitutes the largest ecosystem on the planet, so vast that it covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface, so deep that it contains 97% of the available water and 99% of the living spaces on earth by volume , home to a unique flora and fauna, in the very place where life first emerged.

Cradle of organic life, it is also that of economic and commercial life, sheltering the majority of humans in its coastal areas and supporting three billion of them, who depend directly on marine biodiversity to meet their needs. The sharing of its resources and its spaces has made the ocean a major diplomatic and geopolitical issue, which connects humans as much as it opposes them: between international cooperation and naval battles, both a reservoir of solutions for the future (energy, materials, etc.) and limitless site of exploitation (extractions, nuclear tests, etc.), the cornerstone of free trade, crisscrossed on all sides and yet still so little known since we have explored less than 5% of its extent.

It is precisely its mystery that fascinates, cultural heritage as much as natural and breeding ground for the imagination, below and beyond the surface and the horizon, where the world begins and where the earth ends, where our mythologies take root, from floating worlds to submerged cities, where the journey begins and where exile ends, in the heart of island worlds and with fantasized sea creatures, where the world of yesterday and that of tomorrow is emerging, whether it was before the flood or after the apocalypse.

All applications are to be submitted by March 1st, 2022 at 11:59 pm at the latest via the COAL server. The Prize will be presented at a ceremony organized at the Museum of Hunting and Nature in the summer of 2021. The winner of the COAL Prize will be awarded 10,000 euros and benefits from an (optional) residence run by the Museum of Hunting and Nature at the Belval Domaine, property of the François Sommer Foundation.

Created in 2010 by the COAL association, the COAL Prize has in ten years become a vehicle for the identification, promotion and dissemination of artists all over the world who dare to imagine and experiment, to transform territories, lifestyles, organizations and production methods. Together, they contribute to making changes visible, in building a new collective narrative, a new imaginary world, a common heritage, a positive, optimistic and necessary framework, to help everyone find the means and the motivation to implement necessary changes for a shared and livable Earth.

About the Prize

Every year, ten projects are shortlisted by a committee of professionals among the projects received through the international open call. One winning project will be chosen by a jury composed of representatives of partner organisations and personalities in art and ecology. In addition, all applications considered by COAL and the selection committee will become part of a network of artists and projects may be solicited or promoted for opportunities and actions carried out by COAL and its partners.

The winner of the COAL Prize will be awarded 10,000 euros by the François Sommer Foundation and COAL. This sum is divided into a cash prize and a production aid for the artist residency offered by the Museum of Hunting and Nature at the Belval Domaine, property of the François Sommer Foundation.

Deadline for entries: March 1, 2022

The COAL Prize is supported by the European Union through the ACT – Art Climate Transition network, the Ministry of Ecology, the Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Hunting and Nature, the François Sommer Foundation, the LAccolade Foundation and the National Orchestra of Brittany.

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