Opportunities > COAL Art Prize 2021 - open call
01 Mar 2021

COAL Art Prize 2021 - open call

The international call is announced for COAL Art Prize 2021, on the theme of FORESTS.

In just a few decades, the forest has become both symbol and focal point of the greed, environmental disasters and struggles that are shaking up the contemporary world in crisis. Thirteen million hectares of forests disappear every year, due to increasing agriculture, overgrazing, logging, and urbanization. Entire swathes of forest in the Amazon, Australia and sub-Saharan Africa are burning while others die standing as they suffer the effects of global warming, depriving wildlife of their natural habitats. Worldwide, people are fighting in defence of these reserves of life and culture and to use them as blueprints for future worlds yet to be built.

Forests alone are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. They act as climate regulators by contributing to the production of oxygen and constitute the second largest carbon sink after the oceans. They regulate river flow and sea level rise, maintain soil fertility, protect coasts from extreme climatic events and even create migratory corridors for various animal and plant species. Both a chain and a link in the planetary ecosystem, a preserved and restored forest is one of the primary Nature-based Solutions capable of halting the biodiversity and climate crisis.

Forests are vital to the overall balance of ecosystems, but are just as important to human societies, which have for millennia lived directly or indirectly from its resources. Now the excesses of forest management and exploitation such as monoculture must be curbed. Wood is on its way to becoming once more a primary natural resource for energy and materials, considered “renewable”, from housing construction to paper manufacture.

As a source of income and means of subsistence, the forest is also home to many indigenous peoples who today wage war to the death to defend a different relationship with nature and the living. The “wood” is a political space, historically a refuge for libertarians and resistance fighters. The marginalised, the outcasts and the witches, cohabiting with wolves and the cursed, haunt the imagination of the forest. Whether as an object of fear or a haven of peace, the forest is a conduit for the multitude of knowledge and stories that bring us back to the confines of humanity.

The 2021 COAL Prize invites artists from all over the world to reveal these woodland riches, to feel and experience the ecological balance of forests, to promote the diversity of beings and cultures that inhabit them, to revive their ancestral knowledge and give birth to new ones, to nourish the movements of resilience they inspire, to act with their protectors and to invent other ways of being together in the woods.

Applicants will be judged on the following criteria: artistic value, relevance (understanding of the theme – FORESTS), originality (the ability to introduce new approaches, themes, and points of view), pedagogy (ability to get a message across and raise awareness), social and participative approaches (engagement, testimony, efficiency, societal dynamics), eco-design and feasibility.

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.

Application deadline: 1st March 2021

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 organizations 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.