Create has announced that Vukasin Nedeljkovic has been awarded the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2017: Arts and Activism.
Nedeljkovic, a Dublin-based Irish artist, has collaborated with asylum seekers living in direct provision centres for eleven years. Through this bursary, Vukasin intends to explore the processes of collaboration between the artist, the activist and the asylum seeking community, and to archive and document Direct Provision as a reference for a period in recent Irish history, noting that we have very little visual information about other Irish carceral sites, including Magdalen laundries, Borstals, Mother and Baby homes and Lunatic Asylums.
Vukasin Nedeljkovic’s practice poses a number of questions on the role of art – and the artist – and society. The work of Asylum Archive also requires us to reflect on modes of incarceration, and the creation of art within oppressive systems or sites. In what ways does the involuntary embeddedness of the artist influence what is created? Nedeljkovic asks us to consider Direct Provision Centres not only as sites of incarceration, social exclusion or extreme poverty but also as sites of collectivity and resistance. Direct provision Centres are where different nationalities and ethnic groups exist(ed) and persist(ed) through the confinement created by the State. Where people wait patiently for meals, sign in and out almost every day in order to get €21.60 per week and a medical card, watch friends being transferred and deported, and open Government letters with anxiety, fear and hope. Also in terms of continuity of themes in social history and the State’s treatment of those deemed ‘outsiders’, does the Direct Provision system represent a legacy or echo of older systems of confinement in Ireland – borstals, laundries, prisons, mother and baby homes, lunatic asylums?
The Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award aims to support collaborative artists working in the area of art and activism. The purpose of the Bursary Award is to support and nurture professional arts practice and it is specifically aimed at an artist who has a track record of working collaboratively with communities of place or interest. The Bursary Award of €10,000 provides the selected artist with time and resources to carry out research and to reflect on practice. More particularly, the Bursary allows the artist to consider key questions associated with art and activist practice using collaborative methodologies.
As part of the launch of Asylum Archive in Galway, March 2015, Create featured Vukasin as a part of a panel discussion alongside Anthony Haughey, Anne Mulhall, Charlotte McIvor and Megs Morley, chaired by Katrina Goldstone. The discussion centred on the themes evoked by Asylum Archive.
Audio of this event can be found at Create’s Soundcloud channel here: soundcloud.com/create-ireland/