Carriageworks reopens to the public with ‘NIRIN’

Under the artistic direction of acclaimed Indigenous Australian artist, Brook Andrew, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, which is artist- and First Nations-led, showcases more than 700 artworks by 101 artists and collectives from around the world. The exhibition opened to unprecedented acclaim in March but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closed to the public after only 10 days. With the recent reopening in June of hosting venues: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artspace, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Cockatoo Island, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and the Powerhouse Museum, the Biennale has announced that Carriageworks will be joining them, from 7 August to 26 September 2020, following its recent lift from voluntary administration.

Teresa Margolles, Aproximación al lugar de los hechos (Approximations to the Scenes of the Facts), 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), National Art School. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Acción Cultural Española, (AC/E), Embassy of Spain and Galerie Peter Kilchmann. Photograph: Zan Wimberley. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich

Carriageworks will be showing eight key works previously exhibited, as part of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, at the National Art School which remains closed to the public until further notice:

Brothers (The Prodigal Son), a stained-glass work by contemporary Australian artist Tony Albert inspired by a window in the National Art School’s chapel building depicting the prodigal son and continuing the artists’ Brothers series.

Owed to Diaspora(s), an immersive video installation by multi-instrumentalist UK artist and DJ Hannah Catherine Jones using pop-cultural and archival material, poetic motifs and provocative imagery to tell a story of the African diaspora.

Mineral Garden, a mixed-media installation created by Canadian artist Randy Lee Cutler and transdisciplinary Australian artist Andrew Rewald, delving into the hidden and unexpected lives of plants.

Aproximación al lugar de los hechos (Approximations to the Scenes of the Facts), a powerful and complex memorial to lives lost and to sites where trauma continues to resonate and bare material traces of violent acts, created by conceptual Mexican artist Teresa Margolles.

Extinction Studies, a new iteration of a yearlong project where Tasmanian artist Lucienne Rickard, as part of Adrift Lab, underwent a daily reckoning: drawing, then erasing a recently extinct species.

Homeless in my homeland, a work by fourteen artists from Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre shown across multiple venues, tracing stories of Country as well as struggles with housing and displacement.

Also, new installations by MzRizk (Australia) and Trent Walter and Stuart Geddes (Australia).

Barbara Moore, Chief Executive Officer, Biennale of Sydney, said: ‘The way forward is all about collaboration. When the National Art School was not permitted to reopen to the public, we – the Neilsons, Biennale and Carriageworks – all agreed that these new commissions were too powerful to simply disappear, never to be experienced again. So, we solved the problem by working together. Carriageworks is such an important part of the Australian cultural landscape, and I couldn’t be more pleased that, thanks to the generous support of the Neilson Foundation, ‘NIRIN’ is helping get their doors back open. People are being welcomed into this iconic precinct once again to experience contemporary art that helps them connect, heal and learn from each other, at a time when the value of arts and culture to the social fabric of our community and our personal well-being is heightened.’

Blair French, Carriageworks CEO, adds: ‘Brook’s ‘NIRIN’ is, without doubt, a transformative event, one that leads a critical moment in art and culture in our region. We are delighted to host these works, to welcome audiences back to Carriageworks and to play a part in the conversations generated by ‘NIRIN’.’

Brook Andrew, Artistic Director of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, said: ‘Yaama! In these unusual times, I am so happy that ‘NIRIN’ is moving from NAS to Carriageworks with such gusto! The artists represented here meditate on how human impact has sped up the extreme extinction of animals and highlighted our responsibilities to the earth through awareness of chemical pollution and vegetation migration, to the effects of global movement through slavery of those with histories of diaspora, and the murder and violence towards Indigenous, trans people and women. The current Black/Indigenous/Trans Lives Matter movement in solidarity with the heightened awareness of the environment are reflected in these artists works. Our responsibilities to be attentive to these artworks help us understand our responsibilities and how we can all make action for change, regardless if this is through quiet meditation or physical empowerment. I am very humbled and proud to have experienced the power of the artists’ work at NIRIN now showing on Gadigal land at Carriageworks, a venue that has strong connections to the history of Redfern and the international creative fields of expression. I implore you all to see this extraordinary presentation!’

A satellite exhibition, titled ‘NIRIN NAARM’, is also due to open at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne from 1 to 20 September 2020.