Biennale of Sydney announces 2020 exhibition: NIRIN

The largest exhibition of its kind in Australia announces the first 33 artists, creatives and collectives to participate in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN.

Words: Camilla Wagstaff

NIRIN is not a periphery, it is our centre, and it expresses dynamic existing and ancient practices that speak loudly,” said 22nd Biennale of Sydney artistic director Brook Andrew as he announced the 2020 exhibition and its first 33 participants. Of its title, he continued: “NIRIN is an inspirational journey driven by stories and grass-root practices, realised through twisting perceptions, moments of transition and a sense of being in the world that is interconnected.”

The title of the show translates to edge, a word of Andrew’s mother’s Nation, the Wiradjuri people of western New South Wales. As we celebrate the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, this artist- and First Nation-led endeavour comes at a crucial time, further advocating for First Nation languages, ideas and artistic practices in the mainstream.

The participants announced today include First Nation artist Tony Albert; Australian First Nation custodians of the Blacktown Native Institution, Australian-Papua New Guinean artist Eric Bridgeman; Sāmoan-Persian-Australian artist Léuli Eshrãghi; Australian chef and creative Kylie Kwong; Australian First Nation photographer Barbara McGrady; Australian First Nation artist S.J Norman; and Māori multimedia artist Lisa Reihana; among a broad international representation of artists, creatives and collectives (see the full list below).

The Biennale of Sydney is the third oldest biennial in the world after Venice and São Paulo, and the largest exhibition of its kind staged in Australia. Situated across multiple sites in Sydney and beyond, in the past half century the exhibition has commissioned and presented works from more than 1,800 national and international artists hailing from more than 100 countries.

NIRIN is presented free to the public from 14 March to 8 June 2020 at the Art Gallery of NSW, Artspace, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Cockatoo Island, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the National Art School in Sydney.

The first participants in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney:

  • Tony Albert Born Australia. Based in Sydney, Australia.
  • Maria Thereza Alves Born Brazil. Based in Berlin, Germany.
  • Lhola Amira Born South Africa. Based in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Sammy Baloji Born Democratic Republic of Congo. Based in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Huma Bhabha Born Pakistan. Based in Poughkeepsie, USA.
  • Blacktown Native Institution Dharug Nation, Australia.
  • Anna Boghiguian Born Egypt. Based in Cairo, Egypt, India and Europe.
  • Eric Bridgeman Born Australia. Based in Brisbane, Australia and Wahgi Valley and Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea.
  • Victoria Santa Cruz Born Peru (1922-2014).
  • Léuli Eshrãghi Born Australia. Based in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Jes Fan Born Canada. Based in New York, USA and Hong Kong, China.
  • Nicholas Galanin Born USA. Based in Sitka, USA.
  • Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales Born Peru. Based in Lima, Peru.
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan Born Jordan. Based in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Arthur Jafa Born USA. Based in Los Angeles, USA.
  • Hannah Catherine Jones Born United Kingdom. Based in London, United Kingdom. • Bronwyn Katz Born South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa. • Mayunkiki Born Japan. Based in Hokkaido, Japan.
  • Kylie Kwong Born Australia. Based in Sydney, Australia.
  • Barbara McGrady Born Australia. Based in Sydney, Australia.
  • Ibrahim Mahama Born Ghana. Based in Tamale, Ghana.
  • Teresa Margolles Born Mexico. Based in Mexico City, Mexico and Madrid, Spain.
  • Misheck Masamvu Born Zimbabwe. Based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Katarina Matiasek Born Austria. Based in Vienna, Austria.
  • Jota Mombaça Born Brazil. Based in Berlin, Germany, Madrid, Spain and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
  • Prof Sir Zanele Muholi Born South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • The Mulka Project Yirrkala, Australia.
  • S.J Norman Born Australia. Based in Berlin, Germany, London, United Kingdom, and Melbourne, Australia.
  • Taqralik Partridge Born Quebec, Canada. Based in Kautokeino, Norway.
  • Laure Prouvost Born France. Based in London, England and Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Lisa Reihana Born New Zealand. Based in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Latai Taumoepeau Born Australia. Based in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
  • Gina Athena Ulysse Born Haiti. Based in Connecticut, USA.

Image: Barbara McGrady, Sister Girls stylin up, Mardi Gras, 2013.


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