[artinfo] Firsts Solidarity Network of national pavilions established for the Venice Biennale

Beöthy Balázs b2 at c3.hu
Wed Mar 30 13:52:59 CEST 2022

Fwd: e-flux <info at mailer.e-flux.com> (by way of János Sugár)


An informal Firsts Solidarity Network of national pavilions has been 
established for the 59th International Venice Biennale. An artist-led 
initiative comprising of artist/s who are a first-time representative 
from a marginalised or under-represented group in their respective 
country or a first time country participant at the Venice Biennale, will 
offer visitors to Venice a route to discover these "firsts" at the 
global art world event. For artists and curators the network offers 
practical advice and camaraderie among participating pavilions.

Initiated by Yuki Kihara, the first Pasifika, Asian and Fa' afafine 
(SÇmoa's "third gender") to present in the New Zealand Pavilion, the 
informal network offers collegial support for the participating artists 
and an opportunity to initiate discourse around pertinent issues such as 
the internal structures of national pavilions and their commitment 
towards equitable representation.

On establishing the Firsts Solidarity Network, Yuki Kihara says, "I 
wanted to use the Venice Biennale as an opportunity to reach out to 
other artists who are also first in the context of their own country. My 
hope is to encourage discourse around equitable representation of 
artist/s in their respective countries as well as allowing pavilions a 
chance get to know one another and show support. In the first Biennale 
since the COVID pandemic, I believe it is important for us to learn and 
listen to one another, to seek out new voices and perspectives on the 
world we live in through art."

Network membership has been organised by invitation. The participating 
pavilions include the first Roma artist to represent a country at the 
Venice Biennale, first all-female creative teams and first national 

The Firsts Solidarity Network members:
Lumturi Blloshmi will be the first female artist to represent Albania 
with a solo presentation and Adela Demetja the first Albanian female 
curator of the pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Lumturi Blloshmi, who 
passed away from COVID-related complications in 2020, will be given a 
posthumous survey intended to reflect Blloshmi's tangible yet 
simultaneously ungraspable universe.
Great Britain
The British Council has commissioned artist Sonia Boyce OBE RA to 
represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale, presenting a major solo 
exhibition of new work that shows the vitality of collaborative play 
leading to artistic innovation. Boyce is the first Black British woman 
to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Malgorzata Mirga-Tas will be the first Roma artist to ever represent a 
country at the Venice Biennale. The artist will create an astrological 
textile instalation, constantly subjected to re-enchantment, proposing a 
kind of temporary and adventurous asylum to give viewers hope in those 
times. The exhibition is an attempt to expand the Polish and European 
art history with representations of Roma culture and is curated by 
Wojciech SzymaŸski and Joanna Warsza.
The first Nepal pavilion at the Venice Biennale will feature the work of 
Tsherin Sherpa, one of Nepal's foremost contemporary artists. Appointed 
by Nepal's Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the project 
is co-commissioned by the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts and the Siddhartha 
Arts Foundation, with lead global support from the Rubin Museum of Art.
New Zealand
Yuki Kihara will be the first Pasifika, Asian and Fa'afafine to present 
in the New Zealand Pavilion. Kirhara's project Paradise Camp explores 
small island ecologies, queer rights, intersectionality and 
decolonisation through visually arresting photographic work and archival 
research, challenging western (mis)interpretations of the Pacific 
through the lens of the Fa'afafine community to which she belongs.
Artist Shubigi Rao and curator Ute Meta Bauer are the first-ever female 
team to represent Singapore at Venice Biennale. Shubigi Rao's Pulp III: 
A Short Biography of the Banished Book marks the midpoint of her 
evocative 10-year project, Pulp, which explores the history of book 
destruction and its impact on the futures of knowledge.
TBA21-Academy's Ocean Space will host a gathering of the Firsts 
Solidarity Network members in Venice a week before the Vernissage. 
Additional network activations will develop during the course of the 
Venice Biennale.
Follow the network on social media by searching the hashtag 
#firstspavilionnetwork on Instagram.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Charlotte Sluter, SUTTON, T +44(0)7525118263 / charlotte at suttoncomms.com
For Australia/ New Zealand media enquiries, please contact:
Heather Byrne, Senior Communications Adviser, Creative New Zealand, T 
+64 27 292 1589 / heather.byrne at creativenz.govt.nz
Katrina Raymond, T +61 417 303 158 / katrina at medialinkproductions.com

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