COAL 2022 Prize: an edition on the Oceans

COAL 2022 Prize: an edition on the Oceans

The ocean is at the same time our geographical, dreamlike and political horizon. As the United Nations has proclaimed the Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, the COAL 2022 Prize is dedicated to the issue of oceans.

Image credits: Crédit image : Mark Dion, Fisheries (2016) © Simon Vogel

A landscape without stable character or boundaries, in perpetual movement, a place where everything changes without anything really changing, at once quite concrete and almost abstract, the ocean seems to go beyond its geographical definition to designate a sensitive experience, deeply intimate and yet widely shared. An experience that summons what Romain Rolland called “oceanic feeling”, this emotion that annihilates temporality and space, and that immerses us in a great whole.

This feeling of being only a wave in an ocean without limits is more than ever exacerbated by the ecological context, whose stakes still often escape our perception and exceed our human scales of space and time. Among these imperceptible yet ongoing phenomena, the transformation of the oceans in the face of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity constitutes a real challenge both for the passage to action and for the awareness of sometimes elusive processes. Ocean warming, rising sea levels, acidification and deoxygenation of the seas, overexploitation of fishery resources, plastic pollution, degradation of marine habitats, proliferation of invasive species… The ocean is succumbing to multiple threats.

The ocean is at the root of the global phenomena that make our planet habitable. It regulates the water cycle, weather patterns, and stabilizes the climate by absorbing more than half of humanity’s CO2 emissions. It is the largest ecosystem on the planet, so vast that it covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface, so deep that it contains 97% of the available water and 99% of the Earth’s living space by volume, and is home to unique flora and fauna in the very place where life first emerged.

It is not only the cradle of organic life, but also the cradle of economic and commercial life, housing the majority of humans in its coastal areas and providing a living for three billion of them, who depend directly on marine biodiversity to meet their needs. The sharing of its resources and spaces has made the ocean a major diplomatic and geopolitical issue, which connects humans as much as it opposes them: between international cooperation and naval battles, both a reservoir of future solutions (energy, materials …) and a place of unlimited exploitation (extractions, nuclear tests …), a cornerstone of free trade, crisscrossed on all sides and yet still so little known since we have explored less than 5% of its extent.

It is precisely its mystery that fascinates, cultural heritage as much as natural and fertile ground for the imagination, below and beyond the surface and the horizon, where the world begins and the earth ends, where our mythologies are rooted, from floating worlds to sunken cities, where the journey begins and the exile ends, in the heart of island worlds and with fantasized marine creatures, where the world of yesterday and tomorrow takes shape, whether it is before the flood or after the apocalypse

The ocean is our geographical, dreamlike and political horizon.
As the United Nations has proclaimed the Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030,
COAL 2022 Prize invites artists from around the world
to explore these sunken universes to make them sensitive to the greatest number of people; to reveal what is at stake in the belly of the ocean, from its abysses twenty thousand leagues under the sea to its surface, in order to make us see and feel what is still unknown; and to imagine new concrete actions to revive resilience with the worlds of water


Ten projects are nominated by a selection committee composed of professionals from among all the applications received in the framework of an international call for projects. One of them is awarded the COAL Prize by a jury composed of representatives of the partner organizations and personalities of art and ecology. In addition, all the applications considered by COAL and the selection committee allow to introduce artists and projects that can be solicited or promoted according to other opportunities and actions carried out by the association and its partners.

JURY 2022

  • Bruno David, President of the National Museum of Natural History
  • Mark Dion, Artist
  • Catherine Dobler, Founder of the LAccolade Foundation;
  • Marc Feldman, General Administrator of the Orchestre National de Bretagne
  • Christine Germain-Donnat, Director of the Museum of Hunting and Nature
  • Hélène Guenin, Director of the MAMAC, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Nice
  • Elsa Guillaume, Artist, winner of the COAL Ocean Prize 2015
  • Olivier Lerude, Senior official for sustainable development at the Ministry of Culture
  • Léo Marin, Director of the Eric Mouchet Gallery and Curator of The Possible Island
  • Anne-Marie Melster, Co-founder and Managing Director of ARTPORT_making waves
  • Charlotte Meunier, President of the Nature Reserves of France
  • Romain Troublé, General Manager of the Tara Ocean Foundation



  • Raphaël Abrille, General Secretary of the Museum of Hunting and Nature
  • Loïc Fel, Co-founder of COAL, Doctor of Philosophy, specialist in ecology and aesthetics
  • Lauranne Germond, Co-founder of COAL and curator
  • Boris Masseron, Surfrider Foundation
  • Clément Willemin, Co-founder of COAL and the landscape agency Wald
  • Christopher Yggdre, Artistic Director of the Fondation LAccolade
  • A representative of the Ministry of Culture.


The winner of the COAL Prize receives a 10,000 euro grant and a residency (optional) hosted by the Museum of Hunting and Nature at the Domaine de Belval, property of the François Sommer Foundation.

The domain of Belval is located in the commune of Belval-Bois-des-Dames, in the French Ardennes. With a surface area of nearly 1000 enclosed hectares, it is essentially forested and covered with meadows and 40 hectares of ponds. A true observatory of rurality and wildlife, it welcomes each year artists selected for their contribution to the renewal of the vision of the relationship between man and his natural environment. As a testimony to the Foundation’s commitment to supporting contemporary artistic creation, the residency at the Belval estate contributes to the dissemination of the artists’ works to a wide audience.

It also puts at the service of the creation a network of complementary skills carried by the scientific and educational teams of the Museum of Hunting and Nature and those of the Belval estate. We invite you to consult the charter on the COAL website.


The COAL 2022 Prize is supported by the European Union via the European cooperation program ACT – Art Climate Transition, the Ministry of Ecological Transition, the Ministry of Culture, the French Office of Biodiversity, the Museum of Hunting and Nature, the François Sommer Foundation, the LAccolade Foundation. This edition also benefits from a partnership with the Orchestre National de Bretagne and the Surfrider Foundation.

The François Sommer Foundation , recognized as a public utility since its creation on November 30, 1966, was created by François and Jacqueline Sommer, pioneers in the implementation of a humanist ecology. Faithful to the commitments of its founders, it works for the protection of a biodiversity where man finds his rightful place, for the respectful use of the resources of nature and the sharing of the wealth of the natural, artistic and cultural heritage.

The main goal of the Fondation LAccolade is to support, promote and encourage artistic creation. It pays particular attention to creations, approaches, projects, and actions that are carried out by artists in connection with the themes of water, the environment, the fragility of life and the feminine. It also aims to value and promote the heritage, that is to say the legacy of women who have had historical or artistic importance.

The French Office of Biodiversity is responsible for the protection and restoration of biodiversity in France and in the French Overseas Territories. It works to preserve life in aquatic, terrestrial and marine environments thanks to the expertise of its 2,800 agents, including 1,700 environmental inspectors. This public establishment also works by mobilizing a set of actors, decision-makers and citizens around biodiversity: State, local authorities, associations, companies, scientists, farmers, fishermen, hunters, nature sports enthusiasts, actors from the world of art and culture…



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  • About us
    About us

    COAL mobilizes artists and cultural actors on societal and environmental issues and accompanies the emergence of a new culture of ecology through its actions such as the COAL Prize, curating exhibitions, advising institutions and communities, European cooperation, and the animation of conferences, workshops and the first dedicated website


    COAL has been awarding the COAL Prize Art and Environment every year since 2010 and the COAL Student Prize - Culture & Diversity since 2020.

  • Projects

    Major projects linked to the major events in political ecology, in connection with natural or urban environments.

  • Artistic direction
    Artistic direction

    About fifty exhibitions throughout France, cultural actions, works in the public space, and project support to contribute to the emergence of a new culture of ecology.


    Cooperation programs on a European and international scale, support for institutions in their ecological transition through tailor-made accompaniment and training, promotion of arts and ecology issues through publications and numerous conferences and workshops.