Coal Prize 2021 - Forest
After a 2020 edition under the sign of Biodiversity, the COAL Prize dedicates its 2021 edition to the crucial issue of forests at the center of the climate crisis and ecological transition. Faced with a situation as complex as it is urgent, the COAL Prize 2021 once again invites artists from around the world to mobilize and reveal a world still alive, 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, and above all, to act with the protectors of nature.
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.
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.
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.
The François Sommer Foundation was founded in 1966 by François and Jacqueline Sommer, pioneers in the implementation of a humanist ecology. Faithful to the commitments of its founders, it works towards the respectful use of natural resources, for sharing the wealth of natural, artistic and cultural heritage and for the protection of biodiversity in which mankind find its proper place.
The Belval estate is located in the commune of Belval-Bois-des-Dames, in the French Ardennes. It spans an enclosed forested area of nearly 1000 hectares and is traversed by meadows and 40 hectares of ponds. A veritable observatory of rural life and wildlife, each year it welcomes selected artists who contribute to the representation of their vision of Man’s relationship to his natural environment. A testament to the Foundation’s commitment in supporting contemporary artistic creation, the residency at the Belval estate contributes to the dissemination of the artists’ works to a wide audience. The combined knowledge of the scientific and educational teams of the Museum of Hunting and Nature and those of the Belval estate will also be available as a resource for the artists.
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 COAL Prize supports artistic projects in progress. Its award is not intended to cover all production costs of the project but should be considered as an aid to its development.
The application should include the following documents in a single PDF saved as SURNAME_Name_2021_Project-title, and not exceeding 30 Mb:
- The completed application form, download it HERE
- A detailed description of the proposed project, describing its artistic dimension, its relevance to the theme FORESTS, including a note on the technical feasibility of the project and a budget estimation
- At least two visuals illustrating the project
- A CV and a portfolio
All applications are to be submitted before March 1st, 2021 at 11:59 pm via the COAL server.