Canada, Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Great Britain, Nigeria, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and Tanzania present artists from Africa and the Global Diaspora.
The 60th Venice Biennale, to be on view from 20 April–24 November 2024, will be curated by Adriano Pedrosa under the title Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere. So far, the Pavilions of Canada, Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Great Britain, Nigeria, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and Tanzania have announced African and diasporic perspectives. Watch this space to be updated.
Kapwani Kiwanga will represent Canada at the 60th International Venice Biennale from April 20 to November 24, 2024. Kiwanga is recognized as one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists whose research-driven work is instigated by marginalized or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Her presentation in Venice will be curated by Gaëtane Verna, Executive Director, Wexner Center for the Arts. Kisangani was chosen by the National Gallery of Canada (NGC).
For the first time, Benin has announced its participation. The inaugural exhibition will be co-curated by Azu Nwagbogu, Madame Yassine Lassisi and Franck Houndegla. With the global rise of restitution movements, the curatorial team connects the contemporary art production of Benin to explore the importance and dialogue of decolonization, and reclamation, bringing a debut, fresh perspective to the Venice Biennale in 2024. The exhibition features four Beninoise artists: Romuald Hazoumé, Chloe Quenem, Ishola Akpo, and Moufoli Bello. Each artist will produce unique site-specific work for the exhibition based on the theme, Everything Precious is Fragile.
Wael Shawky will represent Egypt. Born in Alexandria and currently working in between his hometown and Philadelphia, where he received his MFA at the University of Pennsylvania, Shawky works in painting, film and performance to negotiate national imagination and narratives of history through extensive research. He will present a solo project, I Am Hymns of The New Temples, at Museo Palazzo Grimani. Focusing on historical and literal references, Shawky’s practice is recognizable for its storytelling quality that intertwines fable, fact, and fiction.
In its inaugural exhibition, the Ethiopian Pavilion will present works by Tesfaye Urgessa. The award-winning author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE FRSL has been appointed as the curator for this historical exhibition. Born in 1983 in Addis Ababa, Urgessa’s artistic journey began at the Ale School of Art and Design at Addis Ababa University under the guidance of modern master Tadesse Mesfin. He later continued his studies at the Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart where he encountered the heritage of German Neo-Expressionism and the London School of Painters. His distinctive artistic language connects Ethiopian iconography with a profound fascination for traditional figurative painting, exploring themes of race and identity politics within domestic settings.
France appointed Julien Creuzet as artistic representative at the upcoming biennale. Creuzet lives and works in Paris. A visual artist and poet, he actively intertwines these two practices via amalgams of sculpture, installation and textual intervention that frequently address his own diasporic experience. Inspired by the poetic and philosophical reflections of Aimé Césaire and Édouard Glissant on creolization and migration, Creuzet’s work focuses on the troubled intersection of the history of Martinique and the events of European modernity. The pavilion will be curated by Céline Kopp, the new director of the Grenoble art center Le Magasin, and Cindy Sissokho, curator of the Wellcome Collection in London (Le Monde).
John Akomfrah was selected by the British Council Commission to represent Great Britain. The exhibition will be curated by London-based curator and writer Tarini Malik.
The second participation of the Nigerian Pavilion will be curated by Aindrea Emelife. She selected eight artists to be featured in the group exhibition: Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Precious Okoyomon, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, and Fatimah Tuggar.
The Dutch Pavilion will feature the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) collective in collaboration with artist Renzo Martens and curator Hicham Khalidi. The collective consists of Matthieu Kasiama Kilapi, Ced’art Tamasala, and Lisette Mbuku Kimpala and will present new artworks as part of their ongoing commitment for the plantation of Lusanga to be freed, regenerated and transformed back into sacred forests, as well as their commitment to a greater project of spiritual, ethical and economic reckoning. The exhibition will be on display at the Rietveld Pavilion in Venice and simultaneously in the White Cube in Lusanga (DRC).
Artist and curator Mónica de Miranda, choreographer Vânia Gala and Sónia Vaz Borges who defines herself as a ‘militant interdisciplinary historian’ will represent Portugal with a collective project titled ‘Greenhouse’. Dividing the exhibition space into four arenas – the garden, the living archive, school, and the assemblies – the project will create a ‘Creole garden’ that engages with discussions of ecology, politics, pedagogy and highlights encounters between artists, the public and various communities.
The South African Pavilion is managed by the Institute of Creative Repair, and the exhibition, titled Quiet Ground, is curated by Portia Malatjie. It will feature a newly commissioned sound installation, Dinokana (2024) by the art collective, MADEYOULOOK made up of Molemo Moiloa and Nare Mokgotho.
Another first appearance has the Pavilion of the United Republic of Tanzania. Hosted in the Factory of Seeing – Carlo Montanaro Archive in Venice, curator Enrico Bittoto selected artists Happy Robert, Naby, Haji Chilonga and Lute Mwakisopile to present their works within the concept of the ‘Other’, exploring the relationship between humans and nature.