On Wednesday 19 May, Liverpool Biennial opened nine new exhibitions, bringing together the complete presentation of the 11th edition, The Stomach and the Port, which runs until 27 JuneThis final chapter complements the outdoor sculptures, installations, sonic and digital commissions, and online event programme on the Biennial Online Portal, which launched in March. Now, in line with Government guidance, the Biennial is opening more doors to Liverpool, welcoming visitors to safely enjoy the UK’s largest free festival of contemporary art.

The Stomach and the Port is curated by Manuela Moscoso and showcases the work of 50 leading and emerging artists and collectives from 30 countries around the world, including 47 new commissions for the Liverpool Biennial.

The participating artists include: Larry Achiampong, Black Obsidian Sound System, Erick Beltrán, Diego Bianchi, Alice Channer, Judy Chicago, Ithell Colquhuoun, Christopher Cozier, Yael Davids, Ines Doujak & John Barker, Dr. Lakra, Jadé Fadojutimi, Jes Fan, Lamin Fofana, Ebony G. Patterson, Sonia Gomes, Ane Graff, Ayesha Hameed, Camille Henrot, Nicholas Hlobo, Laura Huertas Millán, Sohrab Hura, Invernomuto & Jim C. Nedd, Rashid Johnson, KeKeÇa, Jutta Koether, SERAFINE1369, Ligia Lewis, Linder, Luo Jr – shin, Jorgge Menna Barreto, Haroon Mirza, Neo Muyanga, Pedro Neves Marques, Roland Persson, Anu Põder, Reto Pulfer, André Romão, Kathleen Ryan, Zineb Sedira, Xaviera Simmons, Teresa Solar, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Jenna Sutela, Martine Syms, UBERMORGEN, Leonardo Impett and Joasia Krysa, Luisa Ungar, Alberta Whittle, Zheng Bo, David Zink Yi.

Exploring concepts of the body, the Biennial draws on non-Western thinking that challenges our understanding of the individual as a defined, self-sufficient, entity. Instead, the body is seen as fluid, being continuously shaped by, and actively shaping its environment. At the heart of this Biennial is Liverpool’s history as a port city, an active agent in the process of modernisation, change, and colonialism. Through the visible and invisible dynamics of the port’s past, this Biennial envisions different forms of being human and explores what bodies have the potential to be.

Presented across the city, in new and historic locations, the Biennial has taken over the Lewis’s Building, Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building, the Lush Building, Liverpool Central Library and Cotton Exchange to install site-specific exhibitions, while new exhibitions have been created with the city’s leading art venues, Tate Liverpool, FACT, Bluecoat and Open Eye Gallery.

The Biennial’s series of outdoor sculptures and installations by seven artists celebrate Liverpool’s iconic architecture and public spaces. Connecting bodies and experiences to key places, past and present, together they speak of the movement of humans across the sea and propose new understandings of the relationships between the body and nature.

To navigate the breadth of the Biennial and to make connections between the artworks, a free Guide is available to pick up around the city and online, and a series of suggested trails gather exhibitions, outdoor sculptures and installations around 3 curatorial entry points – Stomach, Porosity and Kinship.

Underpinning the physical festival is the Biennial Online Portal, a platform presenting an introduction to each of the artists and entry points, along with a dynamic digital programme Processes of Fermentation. This combines an inspiring line-up of live performances, artist interviews, curatorial videos, artist-led discussions and workshops, a film programme and podcasts, providing ever-changing, rich and engaging multimedia content. In addition, a vibrant selection of online and physical resources is available for children and young people, bringing the Biennial into the home, the classroom and the community.

To coincide with the launch of the exhibitions, the Biennial is releasing work for sale by Liverpool Biennial 2021 artists: a special edition vinyl by Neo Muyanga, produced in collaboration with SAVVY Contemporary and a limited-edition print by Teresa Solar, alongside a trio of prints by Dr. Lakra. Also available at www.biennial.com/shop is The Stomach and the Port book, featuring essays by selected artists and written narratives by Manuela Moscoso and Keyna Eleison, Co-Director of Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro. Proceeds from every sale support future programming with artists and communities.

“This Biennial’s creative vision, developed by Manuela Moscoso with our artists, has produced a vital and thought-provoking edition with The Stomach and the Port, addressing some of the big questions of our times and overcoming significant challenges which the pandemic has presented along the way”.

Dr. Samantha Lackey, Director, Liverpool Biennial

The Stomach and the Port reflects on systems of exchange, how borders are not only geographic but also political and subjective constructs. Rooted in decolonising our experience of the world, the artists collaboratively present a re-calibration of the senses and a catalyst for change.”  

Manuela Moscoso, Curator of Liverpool Biennial 2021

Running alongside Liverpool Biennial’s 2021 programme, exhibitions at partner venues will include: the UK’s biggest painting competition, the John Moores Painting Prize, at the Walker Art Gallery; the retrospective of acclaimed photographer Don McCullin, together with Aliza Nisenbaum’s paintings of Merseyside’s NHS Frontline workers at Tate Liverpool; Soft Boys, the solo presentation of the Liverpool-based artist Kiara Mohamed at FACT; and AI: More Than Human at the World Museum. In addition, 18 local, regional and national artists will be represented by the Independents Biennial, delivered by Art in Liverpool.