Biennale of Sydney 2020

Barbara McGrady
Sister Girls stylin up, Mardi Gras, 2013 Courtesy of the artist

The Biennale of Sydney will feature works by over 100 international artists across six sites in Sydney. The artist-led exhibition, titled NIRIN, will address themes of sovereignty, healing and transformation, with works by artists including Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Tony Albert, Huma Bhaba, Karla Dickens, Arthur Jafa, Zanele Muholi and Laure Prouvost.

The Biennale of Sydney – the third oldest biennial in the world after Venice and São Paulo and largest exhibition of its kind in Australia – has announced the program highlights for its 2020 edition, taking place from 14 March until 8 June 2020.

Emily Karaka
Kingitanga ki Te Ao (They will throw stones), 2020 Acrylic, mixed media on canvas, 199 x 277 cm Courtesy of the artist

Free and open to the public, the 22nd edition will present a diverse range of contemporary artworks spanning from video and photography to installations and performances, across six different venues in Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Cockatoo Island, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the National Art School.

Brian Futa
BFWMLDFS (or mini-bar), 2017 Performance at the Institute of Modern Art Courtesy of the artist – Photograph by Louis Lim

Under the artistic direction of acclaimed Indigenous Australian artist Brook Andrew, this expansive exhibition of contemporary art and events will bring together the work of more than 100 international artists, many of which have been specifically commissioned for the occasion.

Karla Dickens
Cruel buffoonery, 2019
Mixed media, 115 x 60 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
Photograph by Mick Richards

Acting as a plural space to gather and to share, to disrupt and re-imagine, it will engage visitors to challenge dominant narratives and propose new futurisms and paths to healing. Titled NIRIN, or edge – a word of Andrew’s mother’s Nation, the Wiradjuri people of western New South Wales, the exhibition will address themes of sovereignty, healing and transformation.

Aziz Hazara
Bow Echo, 2019
Video still: 5-channel digital video (color, sound), 4 min 17
Produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation
Courtesy of the artist and of the Foundation

Throughout the 87 days of the exhibition, these projects and ideas will be activated and explored through an interconnected program of free and ticketed events called NIRIN WIR, spanning from the Blue Mountains to La Perouse. NIRIN, meaning edge, and WIR, meaning sky, is a series of activations and creative partnerships with communities, arts organisations and tertiary institutions such as the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory, Parramatta Female Factory and Sydney University. 

Latai Taumoepeau
Stitching (Up) The Sea, 2014 Performance at Blacktown Arts Centre Courtesy of the artist
Photograph by Katy Green Loughrey

Brook Andrew, Artistic Director for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney explains, “NIRIN is an opportunity to see first-hand how Sydney and Australia is a world stage for arts and culture. It demonstrates how artists have the power to inspire and lead through difficult global times such as environmental catastrophe, urgent states of conflict and reframing histories. There are many turning points in the world right now: come and be a part of this story and immerse yourself, your family and friends in inspiration, change and imagined futures.”

Zanele Muholi
MaID IV, New York, 2018
Silverjet gelatin print, 80 x 70.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist and of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg

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