What is Mail Art?

Mail Art is the denomination that is used to designate an artistic activity that uses as a means of expressing the postal distribution. These postal items can range from messages, collages or slogans to poems, short stories, paintings, and so on.

This project intends to get rid of the traditional ways of distributing art and to provide a possibility for artists who are interested in making their work known through the postal format. A critical character that aims to reduce the influence of galleries and marketed spaces and offer an alternative.

By the way, this is not a new initiative. In 1962, Ray Jonson founded the Correspondance School of Art in New York, which will give impetus to this movement. In fact, the network of exchanges has considerably grown, especially since it has become a means of expressing for feminist artists.


What are minoritized languages?

The theme chosen for the I International Mail Art Biennale Zeca Afonso, organized by the José Afonso Galiza Association (AJA Galiza), focuses on minoritized languages. This should be understood as a term which refers to a language which has been marginalized, persecuted or even prohibited at any time in history, which implies a cut in its use and different problems to its conception as a useful element or as identifier of a collective reality.

Minoritized languages ​​and minority languages ​​are not the same, since the latter only refer to a lack of users. Minoritized languages, however, have seen restricted their possibilities of social use. That is to say, minoritized languages cannot be used as main languages in concrete uses, in comparison to the large possibilities of using that characterize a dominant language. In addition, minoritized languages ​​tend to suffer unilateral bilingualism of speakers, which means that, in practice, these people have in their repertoire the language of their own and even the dominant language, but generally not on the same level. The minoritized linguistic community thus becomes a subset of the dominant and therefore is subordinate to the dominant community and thus is perceived. Works sent to the I International Mail Art Biennale Zeca Afonso should reflect any aspect of this conflicting reality.

The decision to choose this topic has to do with the very reality of Galicia, whose own language is lessened by the pressure of Spanish despite having a great development in the Portuguese speaking countries of the five continents. However, since AJA Galicia, we encourage you sending works that reflect other situations in other parts of the world, being aware that it is a problem that threatens other languages ​​all around.

Deadline and where to send

People interested in participating can send their works until May 1, included. For the admission of the work, it will be considered the date appearing in the postmark.

The work with the proposed theme of “minoritized languages” should be sent to the postal address of AJA Galiza:

Rua do Rego 6C 5D,
15895 Milhadoiro. Ames.

How to take part?

The sending of works means acceptance of the following


  1. Participation. All the people, both professional or amateur, can participate in this I International Mail Art Biennale Zeca Afonso as long as their work conforms to the present rules. You can participate with a maximum of three original works and free technique.
  2. Theme. The theme of the sent works will be related to the conflict of the minoritized languages.
  3. Originality. Works must be original or reproduction adapted to the postal format of original works. All works must be free of rights of third parties. This responsibility must be assumed by the person who sends the postcard.
  4. Format. The only accepted format for this contest will be the postcard, with a maximum size of 15 x 9 cm (6 x 3.5 inches). The reason for this restriction is to offer a better expository discourse in the different spaces.
  5. Limits. Sexist, homophobic or undemocratic values ​​will not be accepted. Admission of works is subject to prior assessment by members of AJA Galiza.
  6. Data of the work. In sending the work, the authorship, the title of the work, the technique with which it was performed and a brief explanation should be indicated, as well as the sender’s postal and electronic address. References to the participant’s profiles in social networks may also be indicated for identification purposes, as indicated in point 9 of these bases. In case of sending more than one work, this data should be indicated for each one of them.
  7. Exhibition. Works could be exposed in different spaces, both physical, in Galicia and Portugal —taking advantage of the network available by AJA Portugal—, and virtual, including the website and social networks according to the need to spread the initiative. The information on the venues and the dates of expositions, inaugurations, etc. will be available on the AJA Galiza website (www.aja.gal) and also in their social network profiles.
  8. Scanning. Works can be digitized and displayed on the AJA Galiza website as well as in its social network profiles, crediting to the authors.
  9. Deposit and rights. Works will be owned by the José Afonso Galiza Association, which will hold the ownership of the works themselves or of the copies sent in their case, and which may later be used for cultural, artistic or advertising purposes, always mentioning the authorship and according to the Law of Intellectual Property of application.
  10. Rules agreement. Whoever participates, accepts the requirements set forth in this call, both in the rules and in the address and deadline for submission. Works that do not comply with these rules will not be considered for the Biennale.

Commitments of AJA Galiza

The José Afonso Galiza Association, as organizer of the I International Mail Art Biennale Zeca Afonso, undertakes the following:

  1. Those who participate will receive a digital certificate of participation, which will be sent by electronic mail and signed by the person responsible for curating the exhibitions and by the presidency of AJA Galiza.
  2. The organization will take strict care in the handling of the works received, but declines all responsibility for loss, breakage, theft or any damages suffered during the sending, the transfer or the different expositions.
  3. AJA Galiza will disseminate, as far as possible, the different exhibitions and submitted works, as well as the biennale as a whole, through the press and social media networks.
  4. The inaugural exhibition will be held in May 2019, linked to the celebrations of Galician Literature Day, which celebrate literature in Galician language.
  5. At the end of the period, AJA Galiza will publish a digital catalog with all works, which will be sent to the participants by e-mail.