The 22nd Biennale of Sydney had only been running for 10 days before government restrictions forced it to close back in March. The First Nations-led celebration of art, which was slated to run until June 8, moved some of its programming online – but that was no replacement for the real-life experience. Now, with art galleries and museums set to reopen on June 1, the Biennale’s returning – and it’s been extended until October 11.
From June 1, the free festival will resume at the Art Gallery of NSW, Artspace and Campbelltown Arts Centre. Programming at Cockatoo Island and the Museum of Contemporary Art will resume on June 16. It will finish progressively at the various venues, with the final part wrapping on October 11 at Campbelltown Arts Centre.
This year’s biennale is the first to be overseen by an Indigenous Australian artistic director, Brooke Andrew. He’s curated a program that includes more than 700 artworks by more than 100 artists and collectives from around the world. They’ll all be back on display for the restarted festival, although works from the National Art School in Darlinghurst, which has not yet been permitted to reopen, will be displayed elsewhere. The program of public events (including talks and workshops) has been postponed until further notice, but the festival’s digital program will still be available.
Some of this year’s highlights include an installation by Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens in the vestibule of the Art Gallery of NSW; a series of paintings by arts collective Tennant Creek Brio at Artspace; video works by Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan) and Erkan Özgen (Turkey) at the MCA; and an immersive large-scale exhibition in Cockatoo Island’s Turbine Hall from Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama.
The 22nd Biennale of Sydney will progressively reopen from June 1.