The Liverpool Biennial, one of the largest recurring contemporary art exhibitions in the U.K., has revealed the initial artist list for its 12th edition, running June 10 through September 17 in public spaces and cultural venues across the city.
More than 30 artists and collectives including Nolan Oswald Dennis (SMACT ’18) will respond to its theme, “uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things,” which takes its name from the iZulu word for spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.
The theme draws on the history of the city of Liverpool, in particular how its environment has suffered under colonialism. uMoya, according to the release, is “a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing.”
“Wind often represents the fleeting and transient, the elusive and intangible, but I remember my first moment standing at the docks in Liverpool and feeling the wind in my bones,” Khanyisile Mbongwa, a Cape Town–based curator and organizer of the biennial, said in a statement. “The same wind that made Liverpool the epicenter for the trade of enslaved people and a city that built itself through each ‘merchant’ ship. And I wondered, how can this wind redraw the lines of cartography as pathways for a reckoning to occur?”
New commissions and existing artworks will be exhibited in Liverpool venues including the Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool, and the Victoria Gallery & Museum, and more spaces are expected to be announced in spring 2023.
Liverpool Biennial director Sam Lackey said in a statement: “At this moment of global instability, the vision and experience of our curator Khanyisile Mbongwa brings a perspective of historic acknowledgement that ultimately proposes alternative futures for our world.”