ArtReview is partnering with the Brent Biennial on its public programming. Working with the artists who have produced new works for the borough’s network of public and community libraries, ArtReview will stage three public events, both online and physically.
Among the topics, to be addressed through public conversations, walks and online game-playing, are the politics of libraries in the face of austerity; the hidden stories and histories held by local people; and how environmental catastrophe is a local as much as a global problem.
The first Brent Biennial follows the appointment of Brent as London Borough of Culture 2020 by the Mayor of London, and on 19 September over 20 commissioned artworks inspired by the cultures, places and people of the area will be unveiled. Brent is the second London borough to receive the Borough of Culture accolade and additional City Hall funding, following Waltham Forest in 2019.
In the coming weeks ArtReview will also publish a series of exclusive online interviews with artists who have worked with and within the libraries to create new work, including Carl Gabriel, Avant Gardening, John Rogers, Dawn Mellor, Imran Qureshi, Rasheed Araeen, Ruth Beale, David Blandy, Brian Griffiths and Dan Mitchell.
The commissions include an interactive sculpture by Araeen at The Library at Willesden Green, a parallel lending library of selected books paired with sculptures by Griffiths at Cricklewood Library, a largescale twisted paper installation by Qureshi at Ealing Road Library, walking tours investigating the psychogeography around Kensal Rise Library by Rogers, a giant pop-up book by duo Avant Gardening at Barham Community Library and a permanent largescale mural of local hero George Michael by Mellor at Kingsbury Library.
Lois Stonock, artistic director of Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture, said of the exhibition ‘We’ve created the Brent Biennial as a platform for the visual arts in Brent that can develop over the coming years and as one of the legacies of Brent 2020. Brent’s creativity lies in its communities, in the streets and its civic spaces. We see the Biennial as an opportunity to shine a light on the rich stories, ideas and voices that reside in the borough and also a unique context for artists outside of the borough to work in. Our hope is it reflects the true diversity of London, with all its energy and talent, and shows how art can be part of our everyday lives.’