Previously at the ICA - Events

Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, still from Promised Land, 2011

Promised Land

19 Oct 2016

This panel brings together artists, curators and academics to discuss two views of Europe: the promise of Europe as a place of human rights, security and prosperity; and the Europe of borders, refugee camps, populism, and heightened nationalism. Chaired by Bernadette Buckley, speakers include Hrair Sarkissian, Jonas Staal and Frances Stonor Saunders.

Part of Promised Land, this is the first of two events to provide a vital platform for artists, intellectuals and experts to address current shifts within European politics and to raise urgent debate on the challenges, responsibilities and possible consequences. What insights and ideas are artists bringing; and how may we move forward?

This is the first of two events presented in partnership with Goethe-Institut London and Culture+Conflict, and with support from the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and Arts Council England.

Speaker biographies

  • Bernadette Buckley

    Bernadette Buckley is a writer and academic whose research explores the complex relationships between art and politics, and art and conflict. She is Lecturer in International Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is convenor of the Art and Politics MA programme. In addition to writing for journals and art publications including Postcolonial Studies and Review of International Studies, Buckley’s writings have appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues and anthologies, including Art and Conflict (2014), The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq (2008) and Art in the Age of Terrorism (2005).

  • Hrair Sarkissian

    Hrair Sarkissian, born in 1973 in Damascus, Syria, is currently based in London. He uses photography to re-evaluate socio-political, historical and religious narratives, “as a way to tell stories that are not immediately visible on the surface”. By using the codes of documentary photography, Sarkissian adopts a critical position towards the limitations of the medium. He has exhibited widely internationally in both group and solo shows at Tate Modern (London), New Museum (New York), Darat Al Funun (Amman), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), SALT Beyoglu (Istanbul), Thessaloniki Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, Asia Pacific Triennial (Brisbane) among many others.

  • Jonas Staal

    Jonas Staal is an artist and PhD fellow at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, where he researches the relationship between art and propaganda in the 21st Century. He is the founder of the artistic and political organisation New World Summit that contributes to building alternative political spheres for organisations banned from democratic discourse. Staal’s work includes interventions in public space, exhibitions, lectures and publications focusing on the relationship between art, politics and ideology. Recent exhibition projects include: Art of the Stateless State, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2015 and New World Academy, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 2015.

  • Frances Stonor Saunders

    Frances Stonor Saunders is a British journalist and historian based in London. She is the author of the bestselling Hawkwood and of Who Paid the Piper?, a cultural history of the Cold War that has been translated into ten languages and was awarded the Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone Memorial Prize. Her most recent book is The Woman who Shot Mussolini and her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the New Statesman and Areté. Articles include Where on Earth are you?, London Review of Books, March 2016, in whcih she explored the complexity of the act of crossing borders.

The title Promised Land is taken from a work by Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, commissioned by Folkestone Triennial 2011. A new work by the artist entitled Quicksand has been commissioned as part of the Promised Land programme, to be first shown at Central Saint Martins on 3 December 2016, and then at Hull City of Culture 2017. Born in Denmark and based in Paris, Larsen’s work has been shown extensively including at SALT Galata, Istanbul; Autograph ABP, London; Tate Modern; Sharjah Biennial 9; and Thessaloniki Biennial 3. For more info:

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