JOANNA BLACK

Professor in Visual Art Education

JOANNA BLACK

Project Title: Eksperimenta! (Ek!)

Dates: 2011 to 2017

Description: 
Eksperimenta! (Ek!) is an international student exhibition that was held every three years during 2011 to 2017. It was modelled after the Venice Biennale. In 2009 Annely Köster founder of Eksperimenta! (Ek!) approached the Canadian Society for Education through Art (CSEA/SCÉA) to ask the organization if it would host and support high school Canadian students’ participation in the international art exhibition located in Tallinn, Europe (near Finland). The CSEA represented Canadian secondary school artworks for a decade. Joanna Black has been involved as a curator/researcher since it Ek! began. Pavilions opened in different locations in picturesque, historic Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the three art exhibitions held. Ek! enabled students to address in their artworks political financial and economic crises in our rapidly changing lives. In 2011 students address the theme of “space”; in 2014 “technology”; and in 2017 “arts and science” providing exciting, provocative artworks. Eksperimenta! led to other exciting opportunities for students: it enabled Canadian youth to exhibit their art as well throughout Ireland and in Germany and they were also able to attend the IDEAlab Conferences held.

Participants: 
The CSEA supported EK! involving Canadian high school and art educators across Canada. On behalf of the CSEA Joanna Black worked with co-curators Dr. Miriam Cooley (2011), Dr. Peter Vietgen, Dr. Adrienne Boulton-Funke, Ann Donald (2014); and Dr. Vietgen (2017) enabling the participation of hundreds of Canadian students Together they showed with other students from approximately a dozen countries representing their work to an international audience.

Aim: 
Ek!’s ongoing purpose, according to Köster, is that our contemporary society is “rapidly changing, forcing one to look at the surrounding life, and endlessly ask questions… The world around us is an integral whole where a seemingly small change in one area can trigger an unpredictable chain of events. Art enables us to make connections both within and between subject areas, to understand culture, science, and the living environment as a whole and to develop creativity … We want to guide young people to see inspirational opportunities in both every day and global issues…Eksperimenta! strives to be a hotbed of ideas” (Eksperimenta! Catalogue, 2011, p.7). Ek! supported a careful, reflective and experimental approach to artmaking: it challenged young artists to express, problem solve, and creatively address artistic themes pertaining to modern society. It also provided the opportunity for young artists to learn from others including their peers, and people in the artworld from dozens of countries.

Grants by: 

  1. Faculty of Education, Scholarly Works Fund. University of Manitoba Research Grant.
    Eksperimenta! 2017, 2018.
  2. University of Manitoba Endowment Fund. 2016, 2015
  3. UM/SSHRC International Conference Travel Grant. 2011