Artistic Directors’ Curatorial Statement
A major international art festival and the largest contemporary art event of its kind in Australia, the 24th Biennale of Sydney is presented at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney Opera House, UNSW Galleries and at the iconic and recently restored White Bay Power Station.
The 2024 edition will feature 116 artists and collectives from 45 countries and territories including Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Niue, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine. Exhibiting artists have practices firmly grounded in diverse communities and artistic vocabularies.
The stretch of Country now known as Bays West has been known for millennia as Gari Gurad/Nura (Saltwater Country) and Nattai Gurad/Nura (Freshwater Country). This Country is celebrated for vast expanses of garaban (rock and sandstone) which in some places provides shelter, gibbaragunya (stone/cave shelters), and in other places creates yiningmah (steep cliffs). On the lands of the Wangal people, White Bay Power Station has long sat dormant. Open to the public for the first time in over 100 years, White Bay Power Station will host a series of talks, art activations, workshops, music and event days, set amongst the most dynamic contemporary art from across Australia and around the globe, bringing the remediated site to life. This colossal structure symbolises the monumental efforts required to power the settler colony, both in its real and symbolic machinery.
The first of many special events including Art After Dark, Family Days and more, ‘Lights On’ opening night sees White Bay Power Station spark back to life, in collaboration with Phoenix Central Park. Three dancefloors, live music, food trucks, bars, installations, roving performances, all set amongst the industrial grandeur of the Station, the site will thrum with a powerful, electric festival energy.
In this dynamic interplay of history, culture, and art, a collective future emerges—one not only possible but imperative to be lived with irrepressible joy and plenitude, fostering a shared humanity. Under the gaze of Ten Thousand Suns, the Biennale stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of collective expression.