Venice Biennale

African Perspectives at Venice 2017

The 57th edition of La Biennale di Venezia takes place from May 13th to November 26th in 2007

Performance by Barby Asante. Photo: Jess Harrington. Courtesy of Barby Asante.

Performance by Barby Asante. Photo: Jess Harrington. Courtesy of Barby Asante.

The 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia curated by Christine Macel will open its doors at the Giardini and Arsenale for the public from May 13 to November 26, 2017.

Here are some ideas where to go to get an impression of contemporary art from African perspectives.

The preview of the exhibition titled VIVA ARTE VIVA will take place on May 10th, 11th and 12th, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday May 13th 2017.

Find more information about the preview programe here



The Venice Bienale will include 85 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbawe, and for the first time Nigeria will be represented with their own pavilions:


Opening: May 12th, 18:00 
At Venice Art Space, Fondamenta degli Incurabili, Dorsoduro 557
Theme: Magnetic Memory/Historical Resonance;
Artist: António Ole
Curators: Maria da Silva de Oliveira e Silva, Paulo Kussy Correia Fernandes, Antonio Ole

Opening: May 11th, 13:30
At the Giardini
Theme: This Too Shall Pass;
Artist: Moataz Nasr

Opening: May 12th, 12:00 pm
At Palazzo Dolfin Agostini
Artists: Joachim Silue, Ouattara Watts, Jems Robert Koko Bi, Joana Choumali

Theme: Another Country;
Artists: Arlene Wandera, Mwangi Hutter, Peterson Kamwathi, Paul Onditi, Richard Kimathi
Curator: Jimmy Ogonga

Opening: May 10th, 14:00
At Scoletta dei Tiraoro e Battioro Santa Croce 2059
Theme: How About Now?;
Artists: Victor Ehikhamenor, and Peju Alatise, Qudus Onikeku

Opening: May 12th, 17:00 – 19:00 (by invitation only)
At Giardini della Marinaressa, Castello, Riva Sette Martiri / Palazzo Michiel, Strada Nuova
Theme: Slowly Quietly
Artist: Group Sez (George Camille, Leon Radegonde, Colbert Nourrice, Egbert Marday, Alcide Libanotis, Christine Chetty-Payet, Alyssa Adams, Tristan Adams, Zoe Chong-Seng, Marc Luc, Daniel Didon, Danny Spoha, Charles Dodo, Allen Ernesta, Nigel Henri and Christine Harter)
Curator: Martin Kennedy

Opening: May 10th, 16:00 (by invitation only)
At Arsenale , Sale d’Armi
Theme: Selfhood and Marginalization;
Artists: Candice Breitz, Mohau Modisakeng
Curators: Lucy MacGarry, Musha Neluheni

Live performances during the Opening WeekPoetry at Via Garibaldi, May 10th at 10:30 / Song at Sale d’Armi, May 11th at 10:30 /Dance at Navy Kiosk, May 12th at 10:30
At Via garibaldi, Sale d’armi (Arsenale), Military kiosk (Arsenale),
Theme: The Absence of Paths
Exhibitor: Anonymous.
Curator: Lina Lazaar

Opening: May 10th, 12:30
At Ist. Santa Maria della Pietà Castello 3701
Theme: Deconstructing Boundaries: Exploring Ideas of Belonging;
Artists: Admire Kamudzengere, Charles Bhebhe, Dana Whabira and Sylvester Mbayi
Curator: Raphael Chikukwa





Performance by Jelili Atiku: Mama Say Make I Dey Go, She Dey My Back
Friday May 12th, 16:00-17:30

from Giardino delle Vergini to Corderie

Six dozen women from all over the world convene in a processional ritual combining elements borrowed from the Yoruba system of divination with Hebrew costumes and Guinean masks. The collective action explores the realm of universal energies and their healing powers.


African Art in Venice Forum
At Piano Nobile of Palazzo Dandolo, Hotel Monaco, Venice, Italy
from May 9th 2017 – May 10th 2017

During this two-day event, the comparatively small number of African artists’ participation will be discussed. Panelists will specifically speak to the following questions: How can unrepresented countries develop and improve their infrastructure for the promotion of the arts? Which are the factors preventing their communities of creatives from thriving both on a national and a global level?

African Art in Venice Forum celebrates it’s first edition with a Paradise Playground Party on Tuesday May 9th at 10 pm  at Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, with Dj set by BIG HANDS – Andrea Bonalumi, and special guests.


Salon Suisse: ATARAXIA
Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, Campo Sant’Agnese, Dorsoduro 810,
from May 10th 2017 – November 25th 2017

In celebration of the Biennale’s opening week, The first part of ATARAXIA, Salon One (euphony),  places euphony at the heart of its programme with a full range of sonic sensibilities: conversation, vaudeville, folk, disco and electronica from 10 -12 May

Salon Suisse presents ATARAXIA, this year’s talks and events programme running in parallel with the exhibition at the Pavilion of Switzerland at the 57th Venice Biennale. Organised by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in collaboration with Dakar-based RAW Material Company, the collateral talks programme offers a platform for exchange on contemporary art and thought in a stimulating atmosphere. ATARAXIA aims to understand the paradoxical position Switzerland occupies within the current economic, political, scientific and cultural landscape of Europe and further afield, as well as reflect on its (post)colonial narratives. The programme will take place over the course of the opening event and three subsequent long weekends.


Diaspora Pavilion
At Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina
from May 13th 2017 – November 26th 2017

Opening: Wednesday May 10th , 2017  6-9pm

The Diaspora Pavilion is conceived as a challenge to the prevalence of national pavilions at the Biennale. In this exhibition, 19 artists expand, complicate and even destabilise diaspora as term, whilst highlighting the continued relevance that diaspora as a lived reality holds today.
Exhibiting artists: Larry Achiampong | Barby Asante | Sokari Douglas Camp | Libita Clayton | Kimathi Donkor | Michael Forbes | Ellen Gallagher | Nicola Green | Joy Gregory | Isaac Julien | Dave Lewis | Hew Locke | susan pui san lok | Paul Maheke | Khadija Saye | Yinka Shonibare MBE | Erika Tan | Barbara Walker | Abbas Zahedi


Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice
at Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Dorsoduro 874

Preview: May 10th – May 12th, 10:00-18:00
Press preview: May 11th, 10:00-18:00
Opening reception: May 11th, 20:00 – 23:00 (by invitation only)

21 young artists from 16 different countries, shortlisted for the 4th edition of The Future Generation Art Prize, the global art prize for artists up to 35, will present there works at the Venice Biennale. Among them Dineo Seshee Bopape and Phoebe Boswell.


Body and Soul. Performance Art – Past and Present
At Palazzo Pisani
from May 13th 2017 – November 26th 2017

Opening: May 10th, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Preview: May 11th/12th, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm

In “Body and Soul: Performance Art – Past and Present,” eight performance artists—some historically renowned, others emerging—appear in live performances and in video or photographic documentation of their earlier actions.


Chris Ofili: Poolside Magic
At Victoria Miro Venice, Il Capricorno, San Marco 1994,
from May 10th 2017 – July 1st 2017

Opening hours during Vernissage, La Biennale di Venezia: May 10th – 14th: 10.30am – 7pm.
Privat View: May 9th, 2017, 5:30 – 7:30pm,

Poolside Magic is the inaugural exhibition of Victoria Miro’s new art space in Venice. Opening during the Vernissage for the 57th Venice Biennale, the exhibition marks a return to the city for the artist. Ofili represented Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, when he presented his ambitious exhibition Within Reach, and in 2015 a suite of Ofili’s paintings were included in All The World’s Futures, the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor.


iyEye of Benin – Comparing Views on Rituals
At Greenhouse, Giardini della Biennale
from May 10th 2017 – September 3rd 2017

In short video documentaries, a number of artists from Benin state their perceptions on spirituality and rituality of their country and the diaspora.

Participating artists: Ishola Akpo – Dimitri Fagbohoun – Pélagie Gbaguidi – Ines Johnson-Spain – Achille Mauri – Thierry Oussou – Totché – Séraphin Zounyekpe and participants of Idrissou Mora-Kpai’s video workshop in Cotonou 2014.



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