The Venice Biennale is easily the most prestigious contemporary visual art exhibition in the world – and for it's 57th edition, will finally be hosting a Nigeria pavillion (for the first time ever).
The theme for this year's exhibition is Viva Arte Viva. Curated by Christine Macel and organized by La Biennale di Venezia, the exhibition will open to the public from the May 13 to November 26.
The exhibition will include 87 national participations in the historic Pavillions at the Giardini and in the historic city center of Venice – with Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, and Kazakhstan participating for the first time alongside Nigeria.
Speaking during the press conference about the Nigerian pavillion, the lead curator, Adenrele Sonariwo, said:
"The aim of the Nigerian Pavilion is to reflect on the question of now, and of narratives firmly rooted in the present.
The presentation by the artists expands an understanding of Nigerian contemporary life through installations, painting, and performance."
The Nigerian Pavilion will feature installations and performance, developed by two visual artists, Victor Ehikhamenor and Peju Alatise, and one performance artist, Qudus Onikeku.
Victor Ehikhamenor will present large-scale installations fusing abstract shapes with traditional sculpture, informed by classical Benin art and the effect of colonialism on cultural heritage.
The installation, The Biography of the Forgotten, will pay homage to those that came before and their contributions to the art world – from the classicists to the modernists.
Peju Alatise will present an installation of eight winged life-size girls, based on the story of a ten-year old girl who works as a housemaid in Lagos.
The installation, Flying Girls, will address the injustice of the present, but through a vision of a safer imaginary future, especially for little girls.
Qudus Onikeku will showcase a trilogy of performance films titled Right Here, Right Now – an investigation through dance of the workings of body memory and its connection to national consciousness.
It will be a triptych — of engagement, of contemplation, and of poetry. It will provide a window through which time could be altered for a brief moment.