EVA International

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EVA International
GenreBiennial of contemporary art
FrequencyBiennial, every two years
Location(s)Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Next event2018

EVA International (previously known as Limerick Exhibition of Visual Art and e v + a) is a large-scale contemporary art exhibition that takes place every two years in the city of Limerick, Republic of Ireland. It is known as Ireland’s biennial,[1] and is held in even-numbered years.

Changes in name[edit]

The name of the Limerick event has gone through several incarnations, with the original edition being known as the ‘77 Exhibition of Visual Art, Limerick’, the exhibit has variously been known as Exhibition of Visual Art, EVA, and e v + a.[2] Following incorporation as a company limited by guarantee in 2012, the organisation has operated under the business name ‘EVA International’.[3]


The first incarnation of EVA International was The 77 Exhibition of Visual Art, created by the original committee with the mission statement of providing the public ‘with an opportunity to visit and experience an exhibition not normally available in the region and, at the same time, to stimulate an awareness of the visual arts here’.[4] Between then and 2017, there have been 37 editions of the citywide exhibition.[5]

Each edition is now curated by a different international curator of note, a practice that began with Sandy Nairne in 1979, the only exception to the international rule being Paul O’Reilly, Irish curator of the 1998 edition.[6] The exhibit now has an international focus to its programming, aiming to bring international art to Limerick whilst increasing Ireland's standing in the international art world through invited curators.[7] EVA exhibits have taken place in a number of venues across the city, notably at the Limerick City Gallery of Art, The Hunt Museum, and King John's Castle.[8] For each edition, artists are selected through an open call for submissions, beginning with the first exhibition in 1977. Between 1994 and 2010, the exhibit also included an ‘invited’ selection of artists in addition to those who responded to the open call for artists’ proposals.[7]


large-scale arrangement of red cuboid shipping containers in the shape of a letter X on display in a park with trees in the background. People walking underneath.
Luc Deleu, 'Construction X' on display in Arthur's Quay Park, Limerick for EV+A 1994. Large-scale outdoor installation made from shipping containers.

1977, ‘The 77 Exhibition’[edit]

Curators/Adjudicators: Brian King, Barrie Cooke, John Kelly

The 1977 Exhibition of Visual Art took place across the Municipal Art Gallery (now the Limerick City Gallery of Art), the Cummins Gallery (no longer in operation), and The National Institute for Higher Education, Castletroy (now University of Limerick).[9]

1978, ‘The 78 Exhibition’[edit]

Curators/Adjudicators: Adrian Hall, Charles Harper, Theo Mcnab, Cóilín Murray

1979, ‘EVA 79’[edit]

Curator: Sandy Nairne

EVA 79 marked the first time that the exhibit was presided over by an invited international curator and adjudicator. Nairne set no specific theme for the exhibition, and wrote ‘I have selected for the exhibition work that I consider to be the highest quality’ from amongst 400 submissions.[10]

1980: ‘EVA 80’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Brian O’Doherty

1981: ‘EVA 81’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Pierre Rastany

1982: ‘EVA ‘82’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Liesbeth Brandt Corstius

1983: ‘New Work of Past Winners’[edit]

For the 1983 edition of EVA, the committee held a reflective event, inviting the winning artists of the EVA prizes awarded at the five exhibits that had been held to date, to submit new or recent work to comprise the year’s exhibition. As such, no curator was appointed. An essay by Aidan Dunne reflecting on the success of EVA from its inception was included in the exhibit’s accompanying catalogue.[11]

1984: ‘EVA ‘84’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller’s curatorship was notable for his exclusion of photography on the grounds that it ‘is not art’,[12] and his refusal to award the sculpture prize to any of the selected sculptural works. During the 1984 exhibit, there was an incident in which a local resident attempted to deface David Lilburn’s self-portrait, entitled Towards from the Forceps to the Chains of Office and winner of that year’s graphics prize. Having been warned of the event, a photographer from the Limerick Leader arrived in time to take photographs of the resident smashing the glass on the print and prevent any further damage being done.[13] The event was a subject of controversy, reported nationwide, and the photographs were later hung alongside the print in another exhibition.[14]

1985: ‘EVA 85’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Rudi Fuchs

1986: ‘EVA 86’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Nabuo Nakamara

1987: ‘EVA 87’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Ida Panicelli

1988: ‘Limerick Exhibition of Visual + Art 88’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Florent Bex and Alexander Rozhin

1989: ‘EV+A 89: New Work of Past Winners 1984-1988’[edit]

1990: ‘EV+A 90: Climates of Thought’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Saskia Bos

1991: ‘EV+A 91’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Germano Curant

1992: ‘EV+A 92’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Lars Nittve

1993: ‘EV+A 93’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Gloria Moure

1994: ‘EV+A 94’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Jan Hoet

1995: ‘EV+A 95’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: María de Corral

1996: ‘EV+A 96’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Guy Tortosa

1998: ‘EV+A 97’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Paul M. O’Reilly

1999: ‘EV+A 98: Circus ZZ’[edit]

Curator/Adjudicator: Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn

2000: ‘e v + a 2000: friends + neighbours’[edit]

Curator: Rosa Martínez

2001: ‘e v + a 2001: expanded’[edit]

Curator: Salah M. Hassan

2002: ‘e v + a 2002: heroes + holies’[edit]

Curator: Apinan Poshyananda

2003: ‘e v + a 2003: on the border of each other’[edit]

Curator: Virginia Pérez-Ratton

2004: ‘e v + a 2004: imagine limerick’[edit]

Curator: Zdenka Badovinac

2005: ‘OPEN e v + a 2005’[edit]

Curator: Dan Cameron

2006: ‘e v + a 2006: give (a)way’[edit]

Curator: Katerina Gregos

2007: ‘OPEN e v + a 2007: a sense of place’[edit]

Curator: Klaus Ottmann

2008: ‘e v + a 2008: too early for vacation’[edit]

Curator: Hou Hanru

2009: ‘e v + a 2009: reading the city’[edit]

Curators: Angelika Nollert and Yilmaz Dziewior

2010: ‘e v + a 2010: matters’[edit]

Curator: Elizabeth Hatz

2012: ‘EVA International 2012: After the Future’[edit]

Curator: Annie Fletcher

2012’s After the Future was EVA International’s first edition as a biennial, and the first show under Woodrow Kernohan as director.[15]

2014: ‘EVA International 2014: Agitationism’[edit]

Curator: Bassam El Baroni

Agitationism was a part of the 2014 Limerick National City of Culture programme.

2016: ‘EVA International 2016: Still (the) Barbarians’[edit]

Curator: Koyo Kouoh

2018: ‘38th EVA International’[edit]

Curator: Inti Guerrero

2018’s 38th EVA International was the first edition under Director Matt Packer (appointed June 2017)

Young EVA[edit]

Young EVA is the organisation’s flagship education programme. Beginning in 1984, this has taken a variety of forms, frequently involving artist-led workshops with school-age groups, often resulting in an exhibition of young participants’ work.[16]


  1. ^ "Here's the Artist List for the 2016 Ireland's Biennial". ARTnews.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  2. ^ O'Reilly, Paul M. An EV+A compendium : being the catalogue for the invited EV&A exhibitions of 1994, 1996, 1998 and a remembrance of the 1997 EV+A colloquies on contemporary art and culture [editor: Paul M. O'Reilly]
  3. ^ "EVA International". Eva.ie. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  4. ^ EVA International (1977), 77 Exhibition of Visual Art, Limerick: EVA International.
  5. ^ "Eva curator's praise for Limerick as 37th exhibition is launched". Limerickleader.ie. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  6. ^ Valerie Connor (2001) EV+A 2001 expanded, Third Text, 15:56, 86-92, DOI: 10.1080/09528820108576933, p. 86
  7. ^ a b "EVA International". Eva.ie. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  8. ^ EVA International (2016), Still (the) Barbarians, Limerick: EVA International
  9. ^ EVA International (1977), "77 Exhibition of Visual Art", Limerick: EVA International.
  10. ^ EVA International (1979), EVA 79:Catalogue, Limerick: EVA International.
  11. ^ EVA International. EVA ‘83: New Work of Past Winners: Catalogue, Limerick: EVA International
  12. ^ EVA International. EVA ‘84: Catalogue, Limerick: EVA International
  13. ^ Cristin Leach Hughes. ‘Get Knocked Down, Get up Again.(Features).’ Sunday Times (London, England) 27 Nov. 2011: 10.
  14. ^ "In 1984 a small monoprint of mine, exhibited at the annual Exhibition of Visual Art sparked a local and for a day a national controversy" (PDF). Davidlilburn.ie. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  15. ^ EVA International (2016). Still (the) Barbarians. Limerick: EVA International
  16. ^ EVA International, e v + a 2010: Matters: Catalogue, Limerick: EVA International