Lisa Reihana, Te Wai Ngunguru – Nomads of the Sea, 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Originally co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Creative New Zealand, Nga Aho Whakaari, Te Taura Whiri Maori Language Commission and Jan Warburton Charitable Trust. Co-produced by Artprojects and Reihanamations Ltd. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Creative New Zealand and Penelope Seidler AM. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney. Photograph: Alex Robinson

The Biennale of Sydney returns for its 22nd edition under the artistic direction of Indigenous Australian artist, Brook Andrew. Titled NIRIN, the biennale showcases a diverse range of contemporary artworks 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.

ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Open from 1 June – 27 September 2020

Karla Dickens

With its dramatic and immersive collection of objects, Karla Dickens’ installation A Dickensian Circus interweaves histories and narratives of Indigenous people involved in circus shows and tent-boxing troupes from the 1920s to the 1950s. The works remind us that these histories link to contemporary stories of pride, womanhood, racism, incarceration, dispossession, resistance and defiance. Within the domed space of the Art Gallery of New South Wales vestibule, stories spin-out across a heady array of materials from a kind of historical churn – material stories told with a distinctly circular motion that both transforms and transgresses the space, evoking the charged context of the circus and its complicated historical legacy of entertainment and spectacle, agency and entrapment.

Karla Dickens, A Dickensian Circus, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, Create NSW, and generous assistance from Justine and Damian Roche. Courtesy the artist & Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane. Photograph: Felicity Jenkins
Karla Dickens, A Dickensian Circus, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, Create NSW, and generous assistance from Justine and Damian Roche. Courtesy the artist & Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane. Photograph: Felicity Jenkins

Joël Andrianomearisoa

The work of Joël Andrianomearisoa develops around a non-explicit, often abstract narration, which can be perceived but to which a name cannot be put. His world of forms weaves his work into sequences often mired in a deep sadness caused by an absence that is impossible to fill. And for that he uses, in no hierarchical order, sound in its immaterial dimension or the book in its hyper materiality, silky textile or rough plastic, black or the most shimmering colours.

Joël Andrianomearisoa, THERE MIGHT BE NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD AS GOOD AS WHERE I AM GOING TO TAKE YOU, Installation view (2020) photographed in the Grand Courts at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.
Joël Andrianomearisoa, THERE MIGHT BE NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD AS GOOD AS WHERE I AM GOING TO TAKE YOU, Installation view (2020) photographed in the Grand Courts at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.

Mostaff Muchawaya

The layered painting style of Mostaff Muchawaya’s portraits presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales emanate both intense dream-like nostalgia and joy. Whereas traditional commissioned portraits often involve a visual dialectic between artist and sitter, Muchawaya’s works are a complex confluence of portraiture and self-portraiture, autobiography and fiction, closely tied to place and memory. His process of painting involves several stages of applying paint and then abrading it, so the materiality of the surface becomes a visual analogy to processes of remembering and recalling, oscillating between familiar, vague and degraded forms and surfaces.

Mostaff Muchawaya, Madeline, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 156.5 x 142.5 cm. Courtesy SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Stellenbosh. Copyright © Mostaff Muchawaya
Mostaff Muchawaya, Madeline, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 156.5 x 142.5 cm. Courtesy SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Stellenbosh. Copyright © Mostaff Muchawaya

Josep Grau-Garriga

Having begun his artistic career in painting and drawing, when Grau-Garriga was still very young when he became involved in the art of tapestry – a field which he would excel in from the late 1960s, as one of the leading proponents of the contemporary textile art movement. With a free-thinking and innovative spirit, his career spanned painting, drawing, tapestry, sculpture and installation, often utilising those mediums simultaneously within a conceptually strong and engaged practice.

Josep Grau-Garriga. Installation view (2020) photographed in the Grand Courts at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Josep Grau-Garriga. Installation view (2020) photographed in the Grand Courts at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Emily Karaka

Emily Karaka’s sumptuous, colourful and powerful paintings have long reflected her physical involvement in Māori Land Rights and Treaty Claims issues. Her new series of works are directly indexed to an ongoing political struggle and land dispute at Ihumātao, where Māori protestors have contested a proposed housing development on a sacred area and significant archaeological site, calling for the land to be returned. Through her Ahiwaru tribal group, Karaka has been directly involved in the ongoing struggle, and these paintings tell parts of the story from a position within the process. The works are almost cartographic, creating visual space on each canvas that is tethered to material, cultural and political geographies and languages.

Emily Karaka, Whakakaiwhare Kaitiaki at Ihumaatao, 2020, mixed media on canvas, 152 x 120 cm. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Creative New Zealand. Courtesy the artist
Emily Karaka, Whakakaiwhare Kaitiaki at Ihumaatao, 2020, mixed media on canvas, 152 x 120 cm. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Creative New Zealand. Courtesy the artist

ARTSPACE
Open from 1 June – 27 September 2020

Ibrahim Mahama

Ibrahim Mahama’s largescale, immersive installation No friend but the mountains 2012-20 dresses the entirety of the interior Turbine Hall at Cockatoo Island with jute sacks. A crowded patchwork of rich, brown colour and rough and smooth planes, together their marked surfaces mime the gritty materiality and architecture of the former shipyard and penal colony, to reference and stir the histories of labour and incarceration that lay dormant on the island. This work continues Mahama’s material investigation into labour, economic history and production. Taking an almost forensic approach, the artist sees the surfaces of these materials as holding and bearing the physical markers, smells and traces of the networks and industries they previously moved through. No friend but the mountains 2012-20 privileges the private lives of ordinary materials, and their ability to communicate urgent and complex histories to us, expanding our knowing of and being within an interconnected and inherently entangled world.

Ibrahim Mahama, No friend but the mountains 2012-2020, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from White Cube. Courtesy the artist; Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia and White Cube, London / Hong Kong. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Ibrahim Mahama, No friend but the mountains 2012-2020, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from White Cube. Courtesy the artist; Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia and White Cube, London / Hong Kong. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Colectivo Ayllu

Colectivo Ayllu/ Migrantes Transgresorxs’ installation at Artspace is ‘a collaborative research and artistic political action group formed by migrants, people of colour, queer and sexual-gender dissidents from the ex-Spanish colonies’. Their brave installation draws upon long memories of colonial pain and inserts contemporary realities of violence from the ‘new dogs’ of racist institutionalised practice that most do not experience. This oppression from the border to the detention centre to modern technologies of control is for the collective an extremely difficult and stressful way of living in the world. As they express: ‘In 2020 we, Black and Indigenous sodomites, are still alive and with wounds we dance the pain away.’

Colectivo Ayllu, Eat gold, insatiable white conquero, original lithograph produced in collaboration with Australian Print Workshop (APW)
Colectivo Ayllu, Eat gold, insatiable white conquero, original lithograph produced in collaboration with Australian Print Workshop (APW)

Taqralik Partridge

Textile artist, writer and spoken-word poet Taqralik Partridge’s installation subtley navigates personal experiences of passing through the world, continuing cultural knowledge and language, and inscribing Indigenous stories and modes within urgent global issues. Her text work, inspired by a performance by the artist Denilson Baniwa and adapted into Inuktitut by Ida Saunders and Dharug Dalang by Corina Marino, forms its own network of responses to environmental devastation and futures framed within Indigenous ontologies and language.

Taqralik Partridge, Sápmi at sunset, 2019. Courtesy the artist
Taqralik Partridge, Sápmi at sunset, 2019. Courtesy the artist

Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales

Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales’ installation is based on a set from one of South America’s most successful television shows, Sabado Gigante (Gigantic Saturday). Sabado Gigante’s celebrity host Don Franciso was repeatedly accused of humiliating people on air, sexual harassment and attempted rape. In Rodrigo Gonzales’ re-working of the set, she draws attention to its flashy characteristic of fun-fare, dancing and entertainment, whilst behind the scenes this industry has a crude and entrapped legacy.

Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales, Sabado Gigante (Gigantic Saturday), 2020. MDF, steel, acrylic sheet, enamel paint, LED, dimensions variable. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist and 80m2 Livia Benavides Gallery, Lima
Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales, Sabado Gigante (Gigantic Saturday), 2020. MDF, steel, acrylic sheet, enamel paint, LED, dimensions variable. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist and 80m2 Livia Benavides Gallery, Lima

The Tennant Creek Brio

The Tennant Creek Brio is an artist collective based in the Barkly regional town of Tennant Creek, which is located in Warumungu country in the Northern Territory. Under the direction of artist Rupert Betheras and supported by fellow artist Fabian Brown, Joseph Williams and the more senior David Duggie, the collective quickly gained traction amongst local men. Each artist had been exposed to various traditional forms of cultural expression, i.e. sand, rock and body painting, along with canvas, print, TV, film, social media and religious and protest imagery before joining the Brio.

Tennant Creek Brio. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Tennant Creek Brio. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

CAMPBELLTOWN ARTS CENTRE
Open from 1 June – 11 October 2020

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian

For the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, Dubai-based artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian present installations at Campbelltown Art Centre and the Powerhouse Museum. Exhibited at Campbelltown Art Centre, From Sea to Dawn engages over 2000 altered frames of footage to intervene in and subvert media imagery of migrants and representations of the European refugee crisis. Often sensational at the expense of those fleeing war and disaster, the abundance of such imagery throughout popular media outlets can desensitise and dehumanise the people requiring support, and who do not have access to means of self-representation themselves.

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, From Sea to Dawn, 2016-17, single-channel digital video, colour 6:26mins. Courtesy the artists; Galerie In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris; and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, DubaiPresented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, From Sea to Dawn, 2016-17, single-channel digital video, colour 6:26mins. Courtesy the artists; Galerie In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris; and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, DubaiPresented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre

Fourteen artists from Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre are being shown across multiple locations for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, tracing stories of country as well as struggles with housing and displacement. Beautiful landscapes have been painted onto ‘dollar shop’ bags, a potent material symbol of life on the move. These works explore continuing connection to country, as well as continued cycles of dispossession, while powerfully asserting messages of self-determination to the many who have no connection or understanding of these urgent messages.

Left to Right: Gloria Pannka, People from community come To Town for Family whos sick IN Hospital or in Jail + They cant stay in with family living in NT housing so they become HOMELES, 2018-19; Vanessa Inkamala, MY COUNTRY IS STILL ALIVE!, 2018-19; and Hillary Wirri, 500KM From ALICE SPRINGS, 2018-19. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Courtesy the artists and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Left to Right: Gloria Pannka, People from community come To Town for Family whos sick IN Hospital or in Jail + They cant stay in with family living in NT housing so they become HOMELES, 2018-19; Vanessa Inkamala, MY COUNTRY IS STILL ALIVE!, 2018-19; and Hillary Wirri, 500KM From ALICE SPRINGS, 2018-19. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Courtesy the artists and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Charlotte Allingham

Charlotte Allingham is a 26-year-old Wiradjuri, Ngiyampaa woman from New South Wales, with family ties to Condobolin and Ivanhoe. She currently lives in Naarm, creating Illustrations about her culture and identity, and the impacts of colonisation.

Charlotte Allingham, Bagaray-Bang, 2020, digital print, dimensions variable. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Aesop and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Courtesy the artist
Charlotte Allingham, Bagaray-Bang, 2020, digital print, dimensions variable. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Aesop and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Courtesy the artist

COCKATOO ISLAND
Open from 16 June – 6 September 2020

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

“My work concerns itself with listening at the thresholds of sound and voice, and sometimes at these thresholds sound itself becomes image. Many of the sounds at play in my cases are sounds from the background – noise that seeps onto a recording, sounds that leak into phone calls, through walls, across national borders and from voices that transmigrate from the dead to the living. Sound, and by virtue a sonic imagination, is defined by its blurred borders and difficulty to be contained or isolated.” ~ Lawrence Abu Hamdan.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Once Removed, 2019 (video still). Commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Courtesy the artist
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Once Removed, 2019 (video still). Commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Courtesy the artist

Tony Albert

Albert’s work for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, Healing Land, Remembering Country, is a new gesture of ‘memory exchange’. Presented as a sustainable greenhouse at Cockatoo Island, the work poses important questions such as: how do we remember, give justice to, and rewrite complex and traumatic histories? It is a continuation of Albert’s practice where the artist engages with sites of historical and inter-generational trauma. The artist invites us all to engage with the histories of place by inviting members of the public to share memories on paper imbedded with local seeds, which in turn are used to heal the land and our memories. The greenhouse is intended to act as a site for reflection, writing, sharing and healing. Baskets made by Indigenous artists from across Australia act as the vessels to hold and care for people’s gifted memories.

Tony Albert, Healing Land, Remembering Country, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW, and generous assistance from the Medich Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney. Hand woven baskets by: Bula’Bula Arts – Evonne Munuyngu; Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts – Dolly Dhimburra Bidingal, Joyce Milpuna Bidingal, Mary Dhapalany, Mavis Marrkula Djuliping, Linda Gagati, Caroline Gulmindilly, Kathy Guyula, Helen Djaypila Guyula, Meredith Marika; Numbulwar Numburindi Arts – Nicola Wilfred; Tjanpi Desert Weavers – Munatji Brumby, Maureen Cullinan, Niningka Lewis, Puna Yanima. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Tony Albert, Healing Land, Remembering Country, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW, and generous assistance from the Medich Foundation. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney. Hand woven baskets by: Bula’Bula Arts – Evonne Munuyngu; Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts – Dolly Dhimburra Bidingal, Joyce Milpuna Bidingal, Mary Dhapalany, Mavis Marrkula Djuliping, Linda Gagati, Caroline Gulmindilly, Kathy Guyula, Helen Djaypila Guyula, Meredith Marika; Numbulwar Numburindi Arts – Nicola Wilfred; Tjanpi Desert Weavers – Munatji Brumby, Maureen Cullinan, Niningka Lewis, Puna Yanima. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Lisa Reihana

Lisa Reihana’s immersive installation Te Wai Ngunguru – Nomads of the Sea, 2019 weaves historical fact with fiction to explore the social tension between cultural leadership, spiritual custom and egotistical desire in the face of foreign political challenge in 19th century New Zealand. Through Storyteller – a mythical figure who slips between masculine and feminine voices – the viewer learns of Charlotte Badger, a pakeha (Western) female mutineer, and Puhi, a proud woman of Ngā Puhi descent who becomes jealous of Charlotte’s rising status.

Lisa Reihana, Te Wai Ngunguru – Nomads of the Sea, 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Originally co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Creative New Zealand, Nga Aho Whakaari, Te Taura Whiri Maori Language Commission and Jan Warburton Charitable Trust. Co-produced by Artprojects and Reihanamations Ltd. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Creative New Zealand and Penelope Seidler AM. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney. Photograph: Alex Robinson
Lisa Reihana, Te Wai Ngunguru – Nomads of the Sea, 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Originally co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Creative New Zealand, Nga Aho Whakaari, Te Taura Whiri Maori Language Commission and Jan Warburton Charitable Trust. Co-produced by Artprojects and Reihanamations Ltd. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Creative New Zealand and Penelope Seidler AM. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney. Photograph: Alex Robinson

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AUSTRALIA
Open from 16 June – 6 September 2020 (TBC)

Erkan Özgen

“In my work Wonderland I filmed Muhammed. I met him when I went to my mother’s town. My brother told me about 15fifteen refugees (seven of which were kids), who had fled the war. He had picked them up at the Turkish border, brought them to the city and given them some bread. I bought some clothes and went to see them. Amongst the kids, was Muhammed. He was mute and deaf.”

“I went to his house and shot the video. The video was 40-minutes long and I spent a long time cutting and editing it. It’s a very strong story. Muhammed is from Kobani, but now lives in a refugee camp. Many people have seen the video, and the reality of war. It’s not propaganda. It is not TV. It is not social media. It is reality. He may not be able to speak, but his language is still very powerful.” ~ Erkan Özgen

Erkan Özgen, Wonderland, 2016, single channel digital video, colour, sound, 3:54 mins. Courtesy the artist
Erkan Özgen, Wonderland, 2016, single channel digital video, colour, sound, 3:54 mins. Courtesy the artist

Noŋgirrŋa Marawili

At Campbelltown Arts Centre, three painted larrakitj – memorial poles made from hollow Stringybark – show Noŋgirrŋa Marawili’s characteristically dynamic mode of painting that brings forth the interconnected energies of places, layering the tangible and intangible forces, phenomena and atmospheres of environments constantly transforming. Marawili’s use of pink tones reflects a recent innovation – after discovering a discarded magenta print toner, Marawili began using ink from disused cartridges, reflecting Yolŋu philosophy that suggests, ‘if you paint the land you should use the land’.

Left to Right: Noŋgirrŋa Marawili; Baratjala [Pink Lightning], 2019; Baratjala, 2019; Baratjala, 2019; Baratjala, 2019; Baratjala, 2019; and Baratjala, 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Sue Acret and James Roth. Courtesy Private Collection, Melbourne; Private Collection, Sydney; Carey Lyon and Jo Crosby Collection; and the artist; Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala; and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Left to Right: Noŋgirrŋa Marawili; Baratjala [Pink Lightning], 2019; Baratjala, 2019; Baratjala, 2019; Baratjala, 2019; Baratjala, 2019; and Baratjala, 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Sue Acret and James Roth. Courtesy Private Collection, Melbourne; Private Collection, Sydney; Carey Lyon and Jo Crosby Collection; and the artist; Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala; and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Misheck Masamvu

The paintings, drawings and poetry which Misheck Masamvu has produced for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney deal with the struggle against social conditioning, existing as a space where the artist can move beyond the responses which have been forced upon him by systems of oppression and governance.

Misheck Masamvu, Therapy Lounge, 2019, oil on canvas, 180 x 400 cm. Courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery
Misheck Masamvu, Therapy Lounge, 2019, oil on canvas, 180 x 400 cm. Courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery

The above descriptions are sourced from Biennale of Sydney website

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