The EIB art collection has recently been enriched by the acquisitions of artworks by socially-engaged artists from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as artworks by Black European artists order to redress some under-representation in the art collection.
In 2020, the Arts Committee made the decision to acquire artworks by Black artists living and working in Europe, in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, committing to redressing key imbalances in the collection. The resulting exhibition, Awakening, included artists such as Otobong Nkanga, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Kapwani Kiwanga, Georges Adéagbo, Francisco Vidal, Josefa Ntjam, Patricia Kaersenhout, Jimmy Roberts and Sasha Huber.
In order to ensure the longevity of the 2020 commitment, the next set of acquisitions focused on European artists of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) heritage, or MENA artists living and working in Europe. These recent acquisitions include artists such as Mounira Al Solh, Taysir Batniji, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Simone Fattal, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Mohssin Harraki, Chourouk Hriech, Abdul Rahman Katanani and Ariel Schlesinger. The accompanying exhibition, Unearthing, provides an opportunity to think deeply about cross-cultural dialogue.
The 2020 and 2021 acquisitions are connected by the overarching presence of environmental concerns, in line with the EIB’s Climate Bank remit. Many of the selected artists show how histories of social injustice are connected with the destruction of the environment, as the exploitation of people so often goes hand in hand with the exploitation of land. The EIB art collection will continue to grow, keeping in mind this important avenue for artistic exploration.
Each year, the EIB art collection acquires a new group of artworks. Since its inception, the EIB Arts Committee has consciously and deliberately targeted artists underrepresented in the art world, as diversity and inclusion are fundamental EU principles. It has prioritised acquisitions from Eastern Europe (in line with the EU enlargement), women artists and emerging talent.