About 2020

About the Smash the Narrative


Welcome to the Smash the Narrative project. The purpose of this project is to use art to promote public discussion around major political and social issues. Every two years we award a prize for art relating to a specific topic.

Last year’s theme was alternative interpretations of nationality, “Alter-Nation”. We had over 100 entries from around the world. The top twenty artists were showcased in a month long special exhibition at GO Gallery Amsterdam. The top three artists were awarded prizes of €2,500, €1,000 and €500.

This years theme is titled “You can’t paint that!“. The topic is taboo and censorship. This is an important issue at the moment with governments, educational institutions and big tech companies taking it upon themselves to decide which ideas can and can’t be discussed. We would like to encourage artists to think about what it feels like to be told they should avoid expressing certain ideas or alternatively the necessity of limiting creative and intellectual expression to avoid causing offence.

Why Smash the Narrative?

Narratives are the stories which we use to make sense of the world. But the same set of objective facts about a series of event will be interpreted as radically different stories by different groups of people. It is all too easy to become complacent and take the narratives we hear in the media or from the people around us at face value. The purpose of this project it to challenge popular narratives and encourage people to question the way they view the world.

This art prize is designed to encourage artists to examine evolving notions related to national identity in the current year and express them through their work in a manner that can have an impact on the the general public. Artists are encouraged to push the boundaries of discourse and create work that is leads to viewer to look at life in a way they had never considered before.




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