The 59th Venice Biennale: British pavilion wins Golden Lion Award
Named the women’s biennale by many media outlets, the 59th Venice Biennale features more women than men for the first time in its history.
Held from 23 April to 27 November 2022 and titled The Milk of Dreams, curator Cecilia Alemani has called this ‘an optimistic Exhibition, which celebrates art and its capacity to create alternative cosmologies and new conditions of existence.’
The Golden Lion for Best National Participation goes to the Great Britain pavilion, which showcases the artist Sonia Boyce’s Feeling Her Way. The jury explained that Boyce unpacks silenced stories by developing an alternative reading of histories through the sonic and through working collaboratively with other black women.
A special mention was awarded to the French Pavilion, featuring artist Zineb Sedira for her exhibition Dreams have no titles. The jury remarked on the exchange of ideas in Sedira’s work and the commitment to building communities in the diaspora.
This year is also the first time Kazakhstan has participated with their own pavilion. However, due to delays in the delivery of their work, ORTA, the art collective representing the country, is building an ad-hoc set for performances with local materials. The materials will be a foundation for the finished project, titled the LAI-PI-CHU-PLEE-LAPA Centre for the New Genius, which they hope to install in a month.
A review in The Guardian emphasises the importance of this edition:
'It’s the most momentous biennale in living memory. I have never seen anything like it…[it is not to] do with the year-long delay caused by a pandemic that has no visible reflection whatsoever in the many thousands of works of art; nor is it even to do with the art itself.
Rather, it is an epochal shift in attitudes. For the very first time, there are many more women than men, everywhere from the Giardini to the Arsenale and specifically in the main group exhibition that takes place in both. A whole cast who have been waiting in the wings for far too long are now playing front of stage. The 59th edition will go down in history as the women’s biennale.'
See the full Venice Biennale programme