Conceptual Team for the 36th Bienal de São Paulo Announced

The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung announce Alya Sebti, Anna Roberta Goetz, Thiago de Paula Souza, Keyna Eleison and Henriette Gallus as part of the team for the edition happening in fall 2025.

The conceptual team of the 36th São Paulo Biennial (from left to right): Keyna Eleison, Anna Roberta Goetz, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Alya Sebti, Thiago de Paula Souza, and Henriette Gallus. Photo: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.

The conceptual team of the 36th São Paulo Biennial (from left to right): Keyna Eleison, Anna Roberta Goetz, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Alya Sebti, Thiago de Paula Souza, and Henriette Gallus. Photo: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.

While the 35th Bienal continues its traveling exhibitions program, the Fundação Bienal is already preparing for the show’s next edition. The conceptual team, set up by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, is composed of co-curators Alya Sebti, Anna Roberta Goetz and Thiago de Paula Souza, co-curator at large Keyna Eleison and strategy and communication advisor Henriette Gallus. Later this year, new members of the team, the curatorial subject matter, and collaboration partners in São Paulo and around the world will be announced. The 36th São Paulo Biennial is scheduled to open in September 2025.

For curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, the choice of the conceptual team is fundamental for a broader and more poetic vision of the project: « It is a privilege to embark on this journey for the 36th Bienal de São Paulo with this group of brilliant, respected and diligent colleagues from varying geographies and disciplines. What truly brings us together is the spirit of generosity, intellectual integrity, and justice towards one another and towards the task ahead of us, and most of all a deep love and respect for artists and their works. In terms of curatorial methodology, together with my colleagues, we will adopt the flight routes of migrating birds that criss-cross the four cardinal coordinates of the globe and through their sense of navigation, urge of displacement, sense of survival, overstanding of spaces and times, as well as their urgencies and agencies, we intend to engage in deep and wide research towards the 36th Bienal de São Paulo. While the team will grow in due course, it is my honor to already introduce this core conceptual team. »

Andrea Pinheiro, president of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, commented: « The Bienal de São Paulo is our country’s historical heritage. Translating the artistic and social concerns of today’s world into an exhibition is an enormous responsibility. I’m sure that the work of Bonaventure and his team will be of great importance to the history of the Bienal. »

About the team

Keyna Eleison – co-curator at large
Keyna Eleison (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1979) is a curator, researcher, and educator in art and culture. With a degree in philosophy from UFRJ, a specialist degree in history of art and architecture and a master’s degree in art history from PUC-Rio, she took part in the legitimation of Cais do Valongo as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Eleison coordinated all public institutions from the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Department of Culture and taught at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, where she was also teaching coordinator. She writes for Contemporary And magazine and, since 2019, is the founder of the collective Nacional Trovoa, showcasing the artistic production of black and non-white women. She was the curator of the 10th Bienal Internacional de SIART in Bolivia (2018), the curator of the 1st Bienal das Amazônias (2023), the artistic director of the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (2020-2023) and director of research and content at the Bienal das Amazônias.

Henriette Gallus – strategy and communication advisor
Henriette Gallus (Grevesmühlen, German Democratic Republic, 1983) is a communication and cultural strategist as well as an editor. After working as an editor and literary agent from 2005 onwards, in 2011 she became the press officer of dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), and from 2014 head of communications of the 14th edition of documenta in both Kassel and Athens (2017). From 2018-2022 she was deputy director of steirischer herbst festival for contemporary art in Graz, until she became deputy director of Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, in 2022. She has advised numerous cultural institutions worldwide, among them: sonsbeek 20–>24, Arnhem; Rencontres de Bamako, Mali, 2018 and 2022; the German Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019; Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 2021, and Castello di Rivoli – Museo d’Arte Contemporeana, Turin from 2017 to 2023.

Anna Roberta Goetz – co-curator
Anna Roberta Goetz (Basel, Switzerland, 1984) is a curator and writer living between Switzerland and Mexico. Her research interests include artistic strategies that challenge hierarchies and narratives prevalent in society. She has worked at the Marta Herford Museum and the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, both in Germany, and was assistant curator and project manager of the German Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013. She has staged outstanding solo and group exhibitions in several countries and has taught at various international art schools, such as the Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland) and the Städelschule in Frankfurt (Germany). She is widely published in art magazines and has a number of recent and forthcoming publications, including Rodney McMillian: The Land: Not Without a Politic, organized with Kathleen Rahn (2024) and Cinthia Marcelle – By Means of Doubt, organized with Isabella Rjeille (2023).

Alya Sebti – co-curator
Alya Sebti (Casablanca, Morocco, 1983) is a contemporary art curator and director of ifa-Galerie (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) in Berlin (Germany), where she created the research and exhibition platform Untie to Tie – on colonial legacies in contemporary societies. Her independent curatorial practice focuses on the Biennale format as a space of encounter. She was co-curator of the European Manifesta biennial in Marseille in 2020, guest curator of the 2018 Biennale de Dakar in Senegal, and artistic director of the 2014 Marrakech Biennale in Morocco. She has also staged exhibitions in several countries and has written extensively on art and the public sphere. Her most recent publications include Untie to Tie (2021), about colonial structures in schools. She has supervised curatorial research with mentoring programs at the ZK/U artist residency in Berlin and at MACAAL in Marrakech with a focus on contemporary practices in relation to post-independence artistic languages in North and West Africa.

Thiago de Paula Souza – co-curator
Thiago de Paula Souza (São Paulo, Brazil, 1985) is curator and educator. He is interested in stretching and re-elaborating the exhibition format as well as in the intersection of contemporary art and education in the creation of new ethical codes. He is co-curating the 38th Panorama of Brazilian Art at the MAM São Paulo (2024). Recently, he co-curated Some May Work as Symbols: Art Made in Brazil, 1950s–70s, at Raven Row in London. Between 2022 and 2023, he was cocurator of the Nomadic Program at the Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art (The Netherlands). In 2022, he cocurated While we are embattled (Para Site, Hong Kong) and Acts of revolt (MAM Rio, Brazil). Between 2020 and 2021, he was part of the curatorial team of the 3rd edition of Frestas – Triennial of Arts, São Paulo. He also was a curatorial advisor for the 58th Carnegie International (2021/2022, United States). In 2018/2019, he curated Tony Cokes’ first solo exhibition in The Netherlands, at BAK (Utrecht). He was a member of the curatorial team of the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018). He’s currently a member of the Artistic Committee of NESR Art Foundation, in Angola, and a PhD candidate at HDK Valand – University of Gothenburg (Sweden).

About the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Founded in 1962, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is a private, nonprofit institution with no party political or religious ties, whose actions aim to democratize access to culture and foster interest in artistic creation. Every two years, the Foundation holds the Bienal de São Paulo, the largest exhibition of the Southern Hemisphere, and its itinerant exhibitions in several cities in Brazil and abroad. The institution is also the custodian of two items of Latin American artistic and cultural heritage: a historical archive of modern and contemporary art that is a standard reference in Latin America (the Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo), and the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, the head office of the Foundation, designed by Oscar Niemeyer and listed as historical heritage. The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is also responsible for conceiving and producing Brazil’s representations at the Venice Biennales of art and architecture, a prerogative bestowed upon it decades ago by the Federal Government in recognition of the excellence of its contributions to Brazilian culture.



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