Image: The Biennale of Sydney’s public program provides pathways into projects by participants including (from left) Cave Urban (Mercurio Alvarado, Sophie Lanigan, Juan Pablo Pinto and Jed Long), David Haines and Joyce Hinterding and Clare Milledge, pictured with Lleah Smith (centre), Curator of Programs and Learning, at The Cutaway, Barangaroo. Photograph: Daniel Boud 

Sydney, Australia: The Biennale of Sydney today announced exhibition sites for the 23rd edition, titled rīvus, and an expansive series of events and experiences, titled The Waterhouse, including the exciting return of school programs.

From 12 March to 13 June 2022, the Biennale of Sydney will present participant artworks and projects at: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Barangaroo including The Cutaway, Circular Quay, Information + Cultural Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Art School in partnership with Artspace, The Rocks and Walsh Bay Arts Precinct including Pier 2/3.

The Curatorium leading the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (local curators Paschal Daantos Berry, Anna Davis, Hannah Donnelly and Talia Linz with international Artistic Director José Roca) encourage visitors to flow between locations on a course that is inclusive and accessible by walking, biking, wheelchair and other mobility devices, and via public transport.

The first wave of experiences announced for the 3-month long exhibition, which reflects on rivers and other bodies of water and the ecologies they sustain, echoes this free-flowing movement of people and exchange of ideas. Anchored at The Cutaway at Barangaroo, the public program, titled The Waterhouse, conceived by Lleah Smith, Curator of Programs and Learning, in conversation with the Curatorium, will activate the city through daily programming for all ages and abilities.

The first release of events and experiences includes:

Space In Between, a series of self-guided walks and site-specific exercises created by rīvus participants and extended national and international thinkers, researchers and makers – including Julie Gough (Australia), Pablo Helguera (Mexico/USA), Astrida Neminas (Canada), José Roca (Colombia), Hanna Tuulikki (Scotland) and Tais Rose Wae (Australia). Space In Between connects the Biennale of Sydney locations from National Art School, Museum of Contemporary Art, Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay Arts Precinct and The Cutaway at Barangaroo, through mindful walking inviting audiences to pay attention to the surrounding landscape and experience the city with fresh perspectives. The walks series is inclusive and fully accessible for wheelchair users and users of other mobility devices.

Led by rīvus participants, Building Blocks is an opportunity for audiences to engage deeply with the working methods of practitioners that blend educational and art making processes including Arts for the Commons (Ecuador/Italy), Cave Urban (Australia), Paula de Solminihac (Chile), Clare Milledge (Australia) and Diana Scherer (Germany/The Netherlands). The 3-hour experience includes a communal meal where participants can reflect on water stories and collective processes, together.

Gesture invites audiences to experience the exhibition beyond words and through the body. Deaf artists Angie Goto and Sue Jo Wright will guide audiences on a 90-minute experience through the exhibition expressing with only their bodies to draw attention to our sensory experiences of artworks, space and each other.

River Conversations is a two-day symposium taking place on land and water is curated in collaboration with Erin O’Donnell, a water law and policy specialist, and Alessandro Pelizzon, a legal anthropologist. Led by local and international First Nations voices including Badger BatesD Harding, Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, Bradley Moggridge, Dr Anne Poelina and Leanne Tobin, the symposium will travel down the Parramatta River on Day One and land in The Waterhouse, Barangaroo, on Day Two.

Pre-Biennale series Water Lessons, which was postponed due to stay-at-home orders in New South Wales, will resume in December and continue on the third Sunday of every month to May 2022. Water Lessons investigates water through the lens of muse, material and resource facilitated by water specialists such as Hani Abdile, Indigigrow, Parliament on King and The Weathering Collective. Audiences are invited to unpack the qualities, powers, threats and possibilities of water, together.

A variety of experiences for schools is also available, including, for example:

School Tours will be offered Monday to Friday for the duration of the exhibition. Schools can book a specialised Educator-Led Experience or a Self-Guided Experience with learning resources available online to ensure the fullest experience of rīvus.

H20 Embassy(s) is a specialised cross-curricular primary and secondary schools’ program where students will contribute to the Embassy of the North Sea‘s advocacy for water bodies and all the organisms that live within marine environments. Students will learn about different qualities and characteristics of four water personalities; rivers, oceans, wetlands and estuaries and create a small individual flag as a marker of their advocacy which will be stitched together to form large flags displayed at The Waterhouse.

Lleah Smith, Curator, Programs and Learning at the Biennale of Sydney said: ‘This program gives agency. It empowers audiences to recognise that their story and their journey has meaning and value. It supports the sharing of space and ideas, inspiring communities to collectively consider a different kind of future. It is a program grounded in equity, enabling both active and quiet participation through diverse encounters.’

The Curatorium said: ‘The activations and experiences offered through The Waterhouse program extend upon the foundational principle of rīvus – build upon what’s already there – through active and participatory work that acknowledges that we are all connected through water, by water, in water.’

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said the NSW Government was delighted to announce the NSW Government’s support of the Biennale of Sydney in 2022 and 2024: ‘This investment aligns with the NSW Visitor Economy Strategy and our goal to position Sydney as the events capital of the Asia Pacific by driving visitation to the state. This important international festival of contemporary art is hugely significant in the state’s calendar of events. We are delighted that the 23rd Biennale of Sydney exhibition will feature artists from an impressive 33 countries around the world.’

NSW Minister for the Arts, Don Harwin said: ‘As NSW re-opens its doors to the world, it’s time welcome the Biennale of Sydney back! The NSW Government is a proud supporter of the Biennale, where audiences can celebrate all the Festival has to offer with free and exciting events and exhibitions.’

Ticketed events and experiences are now on sale at When making a ticket purchase, visitors have the opportunity to double their impact with a ‘round up donation’. Creative Partnerships Australia will match every donation dollar for dollar, thanks to their Plus1 initiative. Donations over $2 are tax deductible. Exhibition entry is – as always – free.

Arts professionals are invited to register for Vernissage (9-11 March 2022) at

Stay up to date on future program announcements at @biennalesydney on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. All programs will have conditions of entry adhering to the relevant NSW Government Public Health Orders and health advice.

The Biennale of Sydney is a registered provider for the NSW Government Dine and Discover scheme. Discover NSW Vouchers can be used for selected programs. Call our box office from Monday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm to redeem your voucher.

Artist projects will be announced February 2022.

Images for The Waterhouse and Curatorium available to download HERE


The Biennale of Sydney is supported by


The Biennale of Sydney is a leading international contemporary art event. It plays an indispensable role in Australia’s engagement with the world, and a meaningful role in the life of the nation. For almost 50 years, the Biennale has been a unifying force in the Australian arts sector, embedding boldly creative art exhibitions and experiences in the everyday life of Sydney and putting the artistic excellence of Australia front and centre on the world stage. The Biennale of Sydney has commissioned and presented exceptional works of art by more than 1900 national and international artists from more than 130 countries. The Biennale of Sydney is committed to free access for all.

Situated along the waterways of the Gadigal and Burramattagal people, the Biennale of Sydney in 2022 titled rīvus will be articulated through a series of conceptual wetlands and imagined ecosystems populated by artworks, public programs, experiments, research and activisms, following the currents of meandering tributaries that expand into a delta of interrelated ideas.

rīvus, meaning ‘stream’ in Latin, will enable aqueous beings – rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems – to share a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists, and communities. Considering the water ecology’s perspective raises unlikely questions: Can a river sue over psychoactive sewage? Will oysters grow teeth in aquatic revenge? What do the eels think? Are waves the ocean’s desire?’

Those invited to take part in the Biennale will be known as ‘participants’ rather than ‘artists’, reflecting their diverse talents, skills, practices and modes of being that extend beyond the realm of the visual arts. The participants announced today live across six continents and 33 countries such as Cameroon, Cuba, Venezuela, Slovenia, Taiwan, Tonga and the Netherlands.

The list of participants is available at

The Curatorium developing and realising the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022) includes:

  • José Roca, Artistic Director, 23rd Biennale of Sydney
  • PaschalDaantosBerry, Head of Learning and Participation, Art Gallery of New South Wales
  • Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
  • Hannah Donnelly, Producer, First Nations Programs, Information + Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.)
  • Talia Linz, Curator, Artspace

MEDIA CONTACTS: For further information please contact:

Sasha Haughan
+61 (0)405 006 035

Jasmine Hersee
+61 (0)451 087 196

Kym Elphinstone
+61 (0)421 106 139