The third M_itä? Biennale in Joensuu May 2023

Open call for M_itä? Biennale 2023 for Professional Artists

Application deadline: Friday, April 29, 2022, closing at 15 (UTC+2) 

M_itä? Biennale is pleased to launch an open call for artists’ participation in its third edition, which will take place at Joensuu Art Museum Onni 6 May–10 September 2023.

The M_itä? Biennale of Contemporary Art is held every two years in Eastern Finland. Its name is an acronym of the Finnish words mitä (what) and itä (east). It was launched in association with Arts Promotion Centre Finland and the art museums of Kuopio, Mikkeli and Joensuu, inviting guest curators for each new edition.

The Biennale’s main premise is to display contemporary art from Eastern Finland, giving artists visibility and support, and improving their opportunities in the field. Its aim is to help make Eastern Finland an appealing environment in which visual artists can operate, invite other artists to co-create with Eastern Finnish artists, support the professional development of artists and improve dialogue between different actors in the artistic fields.

With the Biennale coming to Joensuu, we open this third edition with an invitation for artists to critically engage with the history, traditions and complex socio-political conditions that have shaped the region. Artists are also encouraged to consider the Biennale’s acronym and examine the concept of ‘what east?’

With the ecopolitical crises currently threatening the world, it is becoming relevant to problematise the binarism of east-west and the complementary cardinal categories of north-south to address the power asymmetries in our geographies and contest their present colonialist dimensions. It is pertinent to ask “what (is) east?” and expose the structural violence in the relations of inclusion or exclusion that these cardinal geopolitical definitions institute, how they operate and the divisions they trace and efface over lands, bodies and kinships. There is an  urgent need to challenge these and other binarisms, to join our struggles – even if they seem distant – and mobilise solidarities in action that may create fertile grounds for reimagining possible common futures.

This open call is dedicated to artists and art collectives across media, disciplines, generations, and geographies.

For M_itä? Biennale 2023, the main curator Giovanna Esposito Yussif is joined in the curatorial team by chief curators Pauliina Kaasalainen, Marja Louni (Kuopio), and curator Paula Hyvönen (Mikkeli). The Biennale's previous hosts Mikkeli Art Museum (2021) and Kuopio Art Museum (2019) will collaborate with Joensuu Art Museum to produce this edition.

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