‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’, curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa, examines the thread between Catastrophe and Aliveness, asking how different ways of living and being are possible.
This month, Liverpool Biennial launches the full programme for its 12th edition, taking place from 10 June – 17 September 2023.
Taking over historic buildings, unexpected spaces and art galleries, Liverpool Biennial has been transforming the city through art for over two decades. New venues and sites announced for the 12th edition include historic buildings Tobacco Warehouse and Cotton Exchange, and retail and leisure destination Liverpool ONE, which join leading arts venues such as Tate Liverpool, Bluecoat, FACT Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery, Victoria Gallery and Museum and World Museum. A dynamic programme of free exhibitions, performances, screenings, community and learning activities and fringe events unfolds over 14 weeks, shining a light on the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’ addresses the history and temperament of the city of Liverpool. It is a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing. In the isiZulu language, ‘uMoya’ means spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.
Edgar Calel, Guadalupe Maravilla, and Lubaina Himid join the list of participating artists that includes Brook Andrew, Charmaine Watkiss, Gala Porras-Kim, Julien Creuzet, Raisa Kabir, Nicholas Galanin, Torkwase Dyson and Unmute Dance Theatre amongst others. A series of outdoor works will be installed across the city including a large-scale neon by Brook Andrew at Stanley Dock, an installation by Rudy Loewe at Liverpool ONE, and a major new sculptural work by Ranti Bam presented in St Nicholas Church Gardens.
The free events take place across 14-weeks in three stages, creating a triangle intended to mirror the journeys undertaken during the transatlantic trade in enslaved people. The three stages are: The Opening Door (focused on live performances and public installations); The Middle Passage (dedicated to movement, film and moving image) and The Reflective Return (centred around artist talks and music).
Advance booking is required for some events. Further details, including event timings, locations and accessibility information will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Opening Door
The Opening Door allows the invited artists to respond to the theme of ‘uMoya’ by using their bodies as vessels and vehicles for change, bodies that have historically and often continue to be viewed as objects of desire or servitude.
Events include live activations by Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Raisa Kabir and Lorin Sookool, alongside talks including an in-conversation between Khanyisile Mbongwa and Christina Sharpe (Writer and Professor, Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities, Vanier College).
The Middle Passage
The second stage of the public programme, titled The Middle Passage, will centre around the moving image, short films, and live activations from Unmute Dance Theatre working with local dancers (supported by Art Fund, British Council and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and developed in collaboration with DaDa), and Shannon Alonzo.
In partnership with British Council, Liverpool Biennial will host a Curator’s Week of events, discourse and networking from 2-6 August.
On 4 August, a day of screenings by artists including Campbell X, Versia Harris, Michelle Eistrup and Santiago Mostyn will run alongside events including a talk chaired by Osei Bonsu (Curator, International Art at Tate Modern).
The Reflective Return
7– 10 September
The ‘Reflective Return’ will take place towards the end of the Biennial, providing a moment for visitors and Liverpool Biennial 2023 artists to reflect on the themes of the festival through artist talks, music and listening sessions.