Biennale of Sydney artist Barbara McGrady’s Sister Girls stylin up, Mardi Gras, 2013.

Biennale of Sydney Reveals Details of Its Twenty-Second Edition

The Biennale of Sydney announced today the theme of its twenty-second edition and the first thirty-three artists, creatives, and collectives who have been invited to participate in the event. Titled “NIRIN,” the exhibition will be curated by Brook Andrew, the biennial’s first indigenous curator, and will take place from March 14, 2020 to June 8, 2020.

The exhibition will coincide with Australia’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s expedition to the continent. The British explorer and Royal Navy officer mapped the east coast of Australia in 1770, paving the way for British colonization. “NIRIN”—which means edge in the language of the Wiradjuri people, Andrew’s mother’s nation—will advocate for First Nations languages to enter the mainstream.

“NIRIN is not a periphery, it is our center, and it expresses dynamic existing and ancient practices that speak loudly,” Andrew said in a statement. “NIRIN decenters, challenges, and transforms dominant narratives, such as the 2020 Captain Cook anniversary in Australia and reorients Western mapping, shining a light on sites of being that are often ignored or rendered invisible.”

The exhibition will explore seven themes—Dhaagun (Earth), Bagaray-Bang (Healing), Yirawy-Dhuray (Yam Connection), Gurray (Transformation), Muriguwal Giiland (Different Stories), Ngawaal-Guyungan (Powerful Ideas), and Bila (River)—and will be presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, the Campbelltown Arts Centre, Cockatoo Island, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and the National Art School in Sydney.

Participating artists include:

Tony Albert (born in Australia; based in Sydney)

Maria Thereza Alves (born in Brazil; based in Berlin)

Lhola Amira (born in South Africa; based in Cape Town)

Sammy Baloji (born in the Democratic Republic of Congo; based in Brussels)

Huma Bhabha (born in Pakistan; based in Poughkeepsie, New York)

Blacktown Native Institution (based in Dharug Nation, Australia)

Anna Boghiguian (born in Egypt; based in Cairo, Egypt, India, and Europe)

Eric Bridgeman (born in Australia; based in Brisbane, Australia, and Wahgi Valley and Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea)

Victoria Santa Cruz (1922–2014)

Léuli Eshrãghi (born in Australia; based in Melbourne)

Jes Fan (born in Canada; based in New York and Hong Kong)

Nicholas Galanin (born in the US; based in Sitka, Alaska)

Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales (born in Peru; based in Lima, Peru)

Lawrence Abu Hamdan (born in Jordan; based in Beirut)

Arthur Jafa (born in the US; based in Los Angeles)

Hannah Catherine Jones (born in the UK; based in London)

Bronwyn Katz (born in South Africa; based in South Africa)

Kylie Kwong (born in Australia; based in Sydney)

Mayunkiki (born in Japan; based in Hokkaido, Japan)

Ibrahim Mahama (born in Ghana; based in Tamale, Ghana)

Teresa Margolles (born in Mexico; based in Mexico City and Madrid)

Misheck Masamvu (born in Zimbabwe; based in Harare, Zimbabwe)

Katarina Matiasek (born in Austria; based in Vienna)

Barbara McGrady (born in Australia; based in Sydney)

Jota Mombaça (born in Brazil; based in Berlin, Madrid, and São Paulo)

Zanele Muholi (born in South Africa; based in Johannesburg)

The Mulka Project (based in Yirrkala, Australia)

S.J Norman (born in Australia; based in Berlin, Germany, London, and Melbourne)

Taqralik Partridge (born in Quebec; based in Kautokeino, Norway)

Laure Prouvost (born in France; based in London and Antwerp)

Lisa Reihana (born in New Zealand; based in Auckland)

Latai Taumoepeau (born in Australia; based in Sydney and Melbourne)

Gina Athena Ulysse (born in Haiti; based in Connecticut)