The 59th International Art Exhibition - LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA with the theme 'The Milk of Dream' has officially opened to the public from April 23 to November 27, 2022. The Milk of Dreams includes 213 artists from 58 countries with contemporary works and 80 projects a new one specially composed for the Biennale Arte in dialogue with several historical works.
Among the many exhibition pavilions, five new countries participated, namely Cameroon, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, and Uganda. The five also present art projects that can depict a world where everyone can change or be transformed into something or someone else, as written in a book by Leonora Carrington (1917–2011). For more details, here is a brief description of the pavilion of the five new participating countries of the Biennale Arte - La Biennale in Venice.
(the Republic of Cameroon Pavilion, Il tempo delle Chimere/The Time of the Chimeras, 59th International Art Exhibition - LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA, The Milk of DreamsImage: Andrea Avezzù, Courtesy of LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA)
The Cameroon Pavilion tries to compare its four domestic artists with four international ones, to get a dialogue about chimeras and possible utopias through sculpture, installation, and video. Therefore, the pavilion titled The Time of the Chimeras also pays special attention to technological developments that have helped many Cameroonian youths. Now, one example of technology that is developing rapidly is exploring the world of NFT which is still relatively new at this Biennale.
(Namibia Pavilion, A Bridge to the Desert. Image: Andrea Avezzù, Courtesy of LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA)
The artistic collective RENN presented the art project The Lone Stone Men of the Desert for the Namibia Pavilion at this exhibition. The art project consists of several small sculptures resembling stylized human figures that have been scattered in the world's most ancient desert since 2014. Each statue has its tag and number that identifies and conveys a message about the possible encounter that is being addressed. The message seemed to incite the reflection of the 'desert' as an affirmation of human cultural differences, as well as the place of humankind in nature.
(Tsherin Sherpa, Muted Expressions. In collaboration with Bijay Maharjan and Regal Studio. Photo by Chhiring Dorje Gurung)
Together with his Himalayan colleagues, artist Ang Tsherin Sherpa tries to capture and question contradictory conceptualizations of the mountainous region. Combining spoken culture, weaving language, and quotidian rituals, the pavilion brings back an intertwined past. Thus, Tales of Muted Spirits-Dispersed Threads-Twisted Shangri-La is also able to explore how such vocabulary has been adopted, muted, taken over, digested, and re-spewed, so that its consequences can surpass judgment in the world of Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism, the West, and capitalist.
(Oman Pavilion: Installation view, Budoor Al Riyami, Breathe, 2022 Installation commissioned by The Sultanate of Oman PavilionImage: Courtesy of David Levene)
Curated by Aisah Stoby, Oman's first pavilion at the Biennale Arte - LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA presents a group exhibition entitled Destined Imaginaries. In this pavilion, contemporary artists from three generations present new work that depicts the timeless abstract habitats of future relics with insight. Oman Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami, Radhika Khimji, and the late artist Raiya Al Rawahi, each developed this work as a reflection of the extraordinary events of the past two years. Of course, each of these efforts has answered the question posed by 'The Milk of Dreams' exhibition curator Cecilia Alemani, "What would life be like without us?"
(Radiance. They Dream in Time. Uganda National Pavilion for the first time at the 59th Venice Biennale of Art. Curated by Shaheen Merali. Photo by Francesco Allegretto)
After conducting various processes such as online conversations and field visits to artistic practice development centers, Shaheen Merali successfully curated Radiance: They dream In Time as the first Ugandan pavilion at the Biennale Arte - LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA. Together with Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo, this pavilion tries to highlight what the two artists got when contemplating, reviewing, re-evaluating ideas, and having conversations. All of this has to do with Uganda, especially its capital Kampala and its second city Jinja, which is capable of providing fast-paced economic activity but not forgetting a deeply entrenched cultural environment. Because of these two things, Uganda can embrace contemporary Africa, both in terms of design, text, exhibition, performance, and context.
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