23rd Biennale of Sydney announces theme and first 59 participants


The theme for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney will be rīvus, a Latin word which can be translated as ‘stream’. This major event on the international and Australian contemporary art calendar is scheduled to open to the public on 12 March 2022.

In addition to the conceptual framework, rīvus, which will position the Biennale activities as “conceptual wetlands and imagined ecosystems” taking place along the waterways of the Gadigal and Burramattagal people, the curatorium also announced the first 59 participants.

The curatorium (José Roca, artistic director of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney; Paschal Daantos Berry, head of learning and participation at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Anna Davis, curator at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Hannah Donnelly, producer of First Nations programs for Information + Cultural Exchange (ICE); and Talia Linz, curator at Artspace) made a point of using the word “participants” in lieu of artists, as a way to highlight the diverse range of creative practices that will be involved in the 2022 iteration of the Biennale of Sydney.

Diana Scherer, Hyper Rhizome, 2020. Installation view for Hyper Rhizome (2020), Droog Gallery Amsterdam. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Diana Scherer.

In a statement outlining their curatorial intent the group said, “Indigenous knowledge has long understood non-human entities as living ancestral beings with a right to life that must be protected. But only recently have some plants, mountains and bodies of water been granted legal personhood. If we can recognise that a river has a voice, what might they say? Rīvus will enable aqueous beings – rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems – to share a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists, and communities. Considering the water ecology’s perspective raises unlikely questions: Can a river sue over psychoactive sewage? Will oysters grow teeth in aquatic revenge? What do the eels think? Are waves the ocean’s desire?”

The full list of locations for rīvus has yet to be confirmed, but it was announced today that The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve on Sydney harbour will be used for the first time.

“This edition of the Biennale will be all about our connections, and disconnections, with water, and as a result, with each other. It will be a beautiful thing to experience,” said Barbara Moore, CEO, Biennale of Sydney.

23rd Biennale of Sydney: rīvus
Multiple locations
12 March — 13 June 2022

The first 59 participants announced as part of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022) are:

A4C Arts for the Commons (Ecuador / Italy)
Ackroyd & Harvey (England)
Robert Andrew (Yawuru, Australia)
Ana Barboza and Rafael Freyre (Peru)
Badger Bates (Barkandji, Australia)
Milton Becerra (Venezuela / France)
Cave Urban (Australia)
Hera Büyüktaşcıyan (Turkey)
Tania Candiani (Mexico)
Yoan Capote (Cuba)
Casino Wake Up Time (Bundjalung, Kamillaroi, Australia)
Carolina Caycedo (Colombia / USA)
Alex Cerveny (Brazil)
Erin Coates (Australia)
Cian Dayrit (Philippines)
Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S Davidson (USA)
Matias Duville (Argentina)
Clemencia Echeverri (Colombia)
Embassy of the North Sea (North Sea / The Netherlands)
Juliana Góngora Rojas (Colombia)
Julie Gough (Trawlwoolway, Australia)
Senior Craftsman Rex Greeno and son Dean Greeno (Palawa, Australia)
David Haines & Joyce Hinterding (Australia / England)
Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe (Yanomami, Venezuela)
Dale Harding (Bidjara / Ghungalu / Garingbal, Australia)
Joey Holder (England)
Marguerite Humeau (France)
Aluaiy Kaumakan (Paiwan Nation, Paridrayan Community, Taiwan)
Pushpa Kumari (India)
Eva L’Hoest (Belgium)
Mata Aho Collective (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Aotearoa New Zealand)
Clare Milledge (Australia)
Yuko Mohri (Japan)
Moogahlin Performing Arts with Aanmitaagzi Big Medicine Studio (Murrawarri, Biripi, Australia; Ojibway / Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, Turtle Island Canada)
New Landscapes Institute (Australia)
New-Territories _ S/he _f.Roche (France)
Leeroy New (Philippines)
Wura-Natasha Ogunji (Nigeria / USA)
Mike Parr (Australia)
Marjetica Potrč (Slovenia)
Caio Reisewitz (Brazil)
Tabita Rezaire (France / French Guiana)
Duke Riley (USA)
Abel Rodríguez (Mogaje Guihu) (Nonuya, Colombia)
Teho Ropeyarn (Angkamuthi / Yadhaykana, Australia)
Diana Scherer (Germany / The Netherlands)
Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa)
Komunidad X Sipat Lawin (Philippines)
Kiki Smith (USA)
Paula de Solminihac (Chile)
STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and Jiva Parthipan (Australia)
Jenna Sutela (Finland / Germany)
Imhathai Suwatthanasilp (Thailand)
Leanne Tobin (Dharug, Australia)
Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon / France)
Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi (Tonga / Aotearoa New Zealand)
Hanna Tuulikki (England / Scotland / Finland)
Gal Weinstein (Israel)
Zheng Bo (Bai, China)

News Words by Art Guide Australia