Biennale of Sydney

Namila Benson

Namila_Benson_Event

Namila Benson

Born in Melbourne, Australia
Lives and works on the stolen lands and waters of the Wurundjeri and Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations
Tolai Gunantuna (PNG)

Nick Harrison

Born in Canberra, Australia
Lives and works on the stolen lands and waters of the Wurundjeri and Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations
AustraliaN


Namila Benson works across multiple public and media platforms, skilfully guiding vital conversations that explore race, culture and identity politics through a visual arts lens. She contextualises dense topics on a range of issues to create engaging, decolonised and accessible conversations.

"My intersectional approach to engaging in robust discussions about visual art is at the heart of my critical thinking when it comes to creativity. Who we are, what we are and where we are influences our social, political, economic and cultural approaches to the complexity, nuance and tensions that exist in the process of what an artist feels compelled to capture and create.

"These are the power dynamics that I critique, deconstruct, examine and explore in a range of roundtables and long form conversations with NIRIN artists and arts practitioners from around the world. Behind the Biennale is a six-part podcast series that shifts the focus from creative arts practice, to probe the artist’s mind on a whole myriad of issues.

"With a multitude of dynamic cultural and political shifts happening globally in the arts world, Behind the Biennale invites leading creatives and intellectuals to cast a critical lens on the issues that reflect who we are as a society, and to critique the systems and structures that continue to keep far too many on the Edge. Together, we also address the ways, throughout time, that artists have been able to cleverly influence and take issues that exist on the periphery and reframe them front and centre. Think sovereignty, climate change, consent and more.

"Behind the Biennale explores the institutional challenges of racism, repatriation and the problematic nature of museums and galleries revisioning history. I investigate a whole array of ideas: What should decolonising look like in the arts world in 2020? Should your creativity contribute to society? What are the politics of politicising art? Behind the Biennale touches on arts, access and language, fearing art under democracy, art and sovereignty, and more.

"Whether through roundtables, before a live audience or during intimate one-on-one conversations, Behind the Biennale scratches the surface to reveal the diverse ways that creatives approach and address ideas that impact the world around them. I take you front and centre to hear critical and creative minds reflecting on art as a radical notion. Is art even radical anyway? And what defines radical art?"

Nick Harrison is the technical producer for Behind the Biennale. Nick is a field and sound recordist and educator, who interweaves sonic elements of landscapes and discourse to reach across aesthetic and cultural boundaries. Together, we hope to capture powerful, profound moments of artistic and intellectual rigour that reframe our critical approach to artistic, social, political and cultural discourse nationally and internationally. We are both driven by those intangible moments of growth through a willingness to sit in discomfort, whilst using discourse and immersive sound to decolonise and recontextualise stories and narratives.

"Through my practice, I aim to dive deep into the mundane, the moving, the obscure and the complex to create brain-poking conversations. I’ll be your conversational podcast tour guide during NIRIN, taking you from art for art’s sake, right to the Edge. "

Exhibited at