Sydney Biennale - 'From a Brook to a River'

Sydney Biennale - 'From a Brook to a River'

The Sydney Biennale 2022 Director, Jose Roca in the Barangaroo Cutaway where art will be shown next year

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 23.04.21

Dates: 12.03.22

Sydney's Biennale in 2020 set new standards with its emphasis on First Nations artists from around the world. For 2022, the Colombian Artistic Director, Jose Roca has taken up the baton and kept running – allowing him to pun that he was taking the BOS “from a Brook (as in Brook Andrew, AD in 2020) to a river!” - entitling his iteration 'Rivus', the Latin word from which both river and rivalry derive. This will, mysteriously, allow “aqueous beings such as rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems to share a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists and communities” - not to mention performers who may be “singers, storytellers, elders, and/or shamans”.

In a physical sense, projects will trace the waters of Sydney from Burramatta/Parramatta to the Heads, taking in the vast, hollow Cutaway at Barangaroo Point, which will be employed as a cultural venue for the first time since Brook Andrew himself floated huge balloons there.

But which Australian is more aqueous than Barkandji man, Badger Bates - printmaker, sculptor and avid defender of the Barka (the Darling River), who opened proceedings as Jose Roca announced the first fifty-nine participants for 2022. Turning his body into a rough-hewn model of his beloved river – from outspread finger/tributaries down his arm to his torso where the Barka joins the mighty Murray – he intoned that “without the Barka we are nothing”, and got both practical and political by insisting “we gotta stop flood-plain harvesting” to save the river.

While Bates operates as a one-man band, the Biennale's AD, José Roca, a curator with nine previous Biennial involvements, has recruited a local curatorial team to augment his increasing understanding of Australia and Australia's take on the world of art following his move here full-time last year. That team consists of Paschal Daantos Berry (AGNSW), Anna Davis (MCA), Hannah Donnelly (Producer, First Nations Programs, I.C.E.), and Talia Linz (Artspace) – a clear majority of women.

Artists, collectives, and nonprofit organisations have so far been invited from 33 countries—from Australia to Cameroon, Venezuela to Slovenia, Taiwan to Tonga—to participate. Among the most high-profile artists who will show work are Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Yoan Capote, Carolina Caycedo, Marguerite Humeau, Caio Reisewitz, Duke Riley, Abel Rodríguez, Kiki Smith, and Barthélémy Toguo.

But a solid number of Australian First Nations artists will join them - specifically:
Robert Andrew (Yawuru), Badger Bates (Barkandji), Casino Wake Up Time (Bundjalung, Kamillaroi), Julie Gough (Trawlwoolway), Rex Greeno and son Dean Greeno (Palawa), Dale Harding (Bidjara / Ghungalu / Garingbal), Moogahlin Performing Arts with Aanmitaagzi Big Medicine Studio (Murrawarri, Biripi, Australia, Ojibway/Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, Turtle Island, Canada), Teho Ropeyarn (Angkamuthi/Yadhaykana) and Leanne Tobin (Dharug).

The Biennale of Sydney 2022 will take place between 12 March and 13 June 2022.


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Sydney Biennale - 'From a Brook to a River'

A mighty version of Barkandji artist, Badger Bates is processed along the dry riverbed as part of French artist JR‘s ‘homily to country’, conceived for the NGV triennial last year

Sydney Biennale - 'From a Brook to a River'

BOS 2022 artist Robert Andrew's work 'Tracing Inscriptions' (2020) seen at Melbourne's ACCA last year.


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