Shivaji Competition Open Call

The great warrior king of 17th century India, Shivaji Maharaj, established the Maratha Empire against the dominant Mughals and held off the territorial ambitions of the Europeans. Part of his legacy is a group of island forts in the Arabian Sea with stonewalls ringing the edges against the sea and the Europeans. The Shivaji island forts are the starting metaphor and reality for responses to the invasion of the seawaters for the barrier islands and low elevation islands and deltas around the world.

With the predicted sea level rise of one meter, thousands of islands and deltas and millions of people around the world will be threatened with frequent saltwater floods from storms and king tides. Freshwater may disappear. Sewer and rainwater drainage will not function. Evacuation will intensify a refuge crisis and tensions in national borders. Most islands have a light human or agricultural intervention. Others like Miami Beach are dense urban places.

The competition asks artists, architects, designers, planners, scientists and writers to propose the practical and impossible to maintain the continued human habitation of these islands throughout the 21st century. The ideas should be demonstrated on an island or delta under high risk to bring worldwide attention to these threatened places and push the world to live up to Article 8 of the COP21 agreement signed in Paris.

Responses can be elaborate infrastructures for urban cities and DIY methods for agricultural islands by residents with very limit economic resources. (or vis-a-versa). Both parody and reality are welcome as long as the proposals help wake up politicians, engage the minds of a broad public and respect the people of the islands or deltas. Think like Shivaji. The old political structure has lost its ability to respond and the invasion of the little known outside forces from the sea pose a serious threat to your way of life.

Each entry will be submitted online as a GIF demonstrating a proposal when the sea rises at least one meter. The GIFs should be persuasive to an international audience. Humor, drama, paradox and factual reality in photographs, anime, renderings and all other visual formats are acceptable. Clarity of idea and message is very important.

A group of 15-25 finalists will be selected by most of the participating artists, architects and scientists from Rising Waters Confab 2015 & 2016. These finalists will become part of a traveling exhibition available to museums, global warming conferences and outdoor giant screens. One of the finalists will be selected to join Confab 2016 for one week in May 2016. All expenses will be paid to travel and to participate.


The competition is a project organized by Glenn Weiss as a contribution to the Rising Waters Confab 2016 dialogue. Weiss has curated and managed other competitions and exhibitions for the public art agencies in the USA including Times Square and for institutions such as the Storefront for Art and Architecture and PS1 in New York City.

Rising Waters Confab 2016 at Robert Rauschenberg Residency
The second annual Confab will be held for 4 weeks at the Robert Rauschenberg estate on the threatened island of Captiva in the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2016, Buster Simpson and Glenn Weiss are coordinating the residency and think tank to produce works and dialogues about rising seas and global warming. The 2016 list of artists, architects and scientists has yet to be released, but 2015 included David Buckland, Mel Chin, Xavier Cortada, Orion Cruz, Gretel Ehrlich, John Englander, Walter Hood, Lewis Hyde, Natalie Jeremijenko, Edward Morris, Helen Nagge, Jeremy Pickard, Andrea Polli, Thomas Ruppert, Susannah Sayler, Tom Van Lent, Glenn Weiss, June Wilson, Kristie Anders and organizers Buster Simpson, Laura Sindell and Anne Focke. The online catalog of projects from 2015 can be downloaded at


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