Eimear Walshe has been chosen to represent Ireland at the 60th Venice Art Biennale in 2024, alongside Project Arts Centre’s Sara Greavu as the curator. The news was announced by Catherine Martin TD, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, on Thursday, June 8.
Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale Arte, also known as the International Art Exhibition, has been considered the “great mother” of all Biennale activities.
The Project Arts Centre has referred to it as “one of the most important international platforms for the visual arts”, and the exhibition attracts more than half a million annual visitors, as well as garnering the attention of worldwide curators, gallerists, and critics.
The selection committee tasked with selecting the artist(s) to represent Ireland was made up of several international jury members, and decisions came as the result of a highly competitive process.
In a statement regarding the selection, Minister Martin said: “I would like to congratulate Eimear Walshe, Sara Greavu and Project Arts Centre on being selected to represent Ireland at the 2024 Venice Art Biennale. Participation at the Venice Art Biennale increases awareness of Ireland’s strong visual arts sector and is an important moment in an artist’s career.”
Minister @cathmartingreen has announced the selection of artist Eimear Walshe @Eimirth, with @saragreavu & Project as the curator, to represent Ireland at the 60th Venice Art Biennale 2024 @la_Biennale
— Project Arts Centre (@projectarts) June 8, 2023
Hailing from County Longford, Eimear Walshe has worked as a sculptor, writer, and performer, with the majority of their work exploring the “legacies of late 19th-century land contestation in Ireland and its relation to private property, sexual conservatism, and the built environment”.
Walshe’s pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2024 will be focused on the links between the present and the past, particularly exploring gendered and sexual legacies related to the history of land and housing activism.
Working with a team of talented collaborators, Walshe’s work will return to Ireland for a national tour following its showing at Biennale Arte in 2024.
Following their selection, Walshe remarked, “I’m very proud to be representing Ireland at Venice this coming April. My practice is deeply enriched by being embedded in Ireland, in a place and with people so beloved to me. At the same time, my work emerges from the context of a nation in escalating crisis; this is the subject of my work.
“With Sara Greavu as curator, we aim to make a pavilion in tribute to those who persist, against the odds, in being shelter for each other,” they added.
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Greavu, who holds the title of Curator of Visual Arts at the Project Arts Centre, similarly commented, “The Venice Biennale offers an incredible opportunity to connect the ideas, practices and urgencies of contemporary art in Ireland to those of artists, thinkers and publics internationally.
“Eimear Walshe’s extraordinary work speaks of and from a precarious generation, and proposes new ways to claim a sense of kinship, place and love; refusing estrangement from history and community, language and tradition. We are so thrilled to work with them for Ireland’s representation in Venice,” she continued.
“The pavilion of Ireland at Venice will resonate within the larger framework of Adriano Pedrosa 60th Venice Biennale, even as it draws our attention to our own social and material lives, transforming our understanding of ourselves.”
At the acclaimed exhibition, the pair will be joined by artists from all over the globe, including Edith Karlson (Estonia), John Akomfrah (Great Britain) and Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada). Other artists to have represented Ireland in the past at the Venice Biennale include Niamh O’Malley (2022), Eva Rothschild (2019), Jesse Jones (2017), Sean Lynch (2015) and Richard Mosse (2013).
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