The 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN lights up in the virtual world

ArTree Nepal, Not less expensive than gold, 2020, mixed-media installation. Installation view, detail (2020) for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, Cockatoo Island. Courtesy the artists. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

On 6 April, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney NIRIN is taking its powerful showcase of art from around the world to new heights with the launch of a virtual Biennale, a first for art biennales world-wide in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world.

‘NIRIN’ meaning ‘edge’ in Wiradjuri (Aboriginal) language aims to bring unresolved global political, social and environmental issues into community focus with the belief that society can prosper through listening, healing and collaboration. The selection of works in NIRIN present audiences with an opportunity to see the world in new light, to gain empathy and understanding for all of humanity with hope for harmony in the future. A timely call to reflect on our interactions with each other as the world tumbles in turmoil.

Biennale of Sydney Chief Executive Officer Barbara Moore said, “NIRIN, is a global platform for diverse cultures and perspectives, uniting people across the world, stimulating dialogue and inspiring change. Now, more than ever, it is important to find ways to connect, to help each other, listen, collaborate and heal.”

‘NIRIN’ will deliver the full repertoire of Biennale experiences to audiences around the globe via the Biennale of Sydney website and through social media channels. More details will be released through the Google Arts & Culture platform over the coming weeks as exhibition partners; Cockatoo Island, Artspace, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Campbelltown Arts Centre and National Art School, bring artists and their works to the online stage. Get ready for an energetic program of live content, virtual walk-throughs, podcasts, interactive Q&As and curated content and over 700 works by 101 artists and collectives.

Teachers, students and families will also have access to new learning materials every Tuesday on environmental studies and Indigenous histories and cultures via interactive resources, podcasts, artist interviews, videos and tutorials.

Hannah Catherine Jones installing Owed to Diaspora(s), Hannah Catherine Jones, 2020, mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Installation progress view (2020) for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, National Art School. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Seven themes of inspiration
Artistic Director, Sydney Biennale, Brooke Andrew explains that NIRIN is “supported by themes that inspire us – DHAAGUN (Earth: Sovereignty and Working Together),  BAGARAY-BANG (Healing), YIRAWY–DHURAY (Yam-Connection: Food), GURRAY (Transformation),  MURIGUWAL GIILAND (Different Stories), NGAWAAL-GUYUNGAN (Powerful-Ideas: The Power of Objects) and BILA (River: Environment).”

DHAAGUN: Earth: Sovereignty and Working Together. Every Friday, Artistic Director Brook Andrew will connect with the global community of NIRIN artists and curators to give unique insights into the exhibition. Connect with Brooke Andrew.

BAGARAY-BANG: Healing. Stay connected with friends and family near and far through a series of intergenerational activities that include workshops using recycled materials, easy craft projects, readings and lots more. Follow us on Facebook.

YIRAWY–DHURAY: Food. How can we gather in isolation? Each weekend, artists and community leaders will share their personal favourite recipes encouraging audiences to cook together from kitchens all around the world. Click here for the latest.

GURRAY: Transformation. Looking at transformation as a tool for change, the Biennale will share new experiences of exhibition spaces, artworks and processes through the voices and perspectives of artists, curators and educators. Learn more about NIRIN here.

MURIGUWAL GIILAND: Every Wednesday, the Biennale’s global community of artists will host social media takeovers, watch parties, and never-before-seen content on the Biennale’s IGTV channel. Follow us on Instagram.

NGAWAAL-GUYUNGAN: Powerful-Ideas. The Biennale is creating spaces for artists and audiences to connect, collaborate and express powerful ideas through performances, readings and conversations. Subscribe to YouTube.

BILA: River: Environment. Each week will begin with a focus on our own physical environment, as well as the changing environments of our local and global communities including playlists and podcasts to set the tone for the week. Follow us on Spotify.

This new digital platform for NIRIN remains an artist and First Nations-led initiative, which unites artists, performers, scientists, thinkers and communities from diverse cultures and perspectives who are working to inspire change through the power of art.