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José Roca. Photo: Alejandra Quintero Sinisterra.

José Roca Named Artistic Director of 2022 Biennale of Sydney

Colombian curator José Roca has been appointed artistic director of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, slated to take place March 12–June 13, 2022. Currently the director of the Bogotá-based LORA ars+natura, a not-for-profit endeavor, Roca was previously Estrellita B. Brodsky Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art for the Tate, London, and for a decade oversaw the arts program at the Museo del Banco de la República in Bogotá, establishing the institution as one of the most respected in Latin America.

Roca will head a curatorial team additionally comprising Paschal Daantos Berry, who heads learning and participation at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Anna Davis, a curator at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Hannah Donnelly, producer of First Nations programs at Paramatta, Australia’s Information + Cultural Exchange; and Talia Linz, a curator at Artspace, Sydney.

Though Roca and his team have not yet selected a theme for the Biennale, it will “deal with issues like sustainability, rights of nature, the knowledge of Indigenous people that inhabit different territories, waterways as means of subsistence but also the enablers of colonial enterprise,” Roca told the Sydney Morning Herald.

In order to reduce the Biennale’s environmental impact, the team will keep international travel to a minimum during the curation process, instead working with a worldwide network of colleagues, (re)producing works locally, and working inter-institutionally to optimize resources. Roca will move to Sydney as soon as travel restrictions permit and will remain there for the duration of the process.

“In this particular day and time . . . we need to be conscious of the impact of our decisions and actions on the social, political and natural environment,” said Roca in a statement. “We should realize that the task of artists and cultural producers lies not only in raising awareness of these pressing issues, but in acting accordingly and consequently. We must think of more sustainable ways to do exhibitions, work collaboratively with and for local audiences, and learn from the peoples that have lived in harmony with nature.”

 

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