Liverpool Biennial announces theme and artists for 2023 edition

The exhibition, which returns for its 12th outing next year, will be curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa

Lorin Sookool, Project ongoing, 2022. Photography by Tanja Hall

Liverpool Biennial – scheduled to run from 10 June to 17 September 2023, and curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa – has announced the theme, participating artists and venues for its 12th edition. Mbongwa is a Cape Town-based curator, artist and sociologist; in 2020, she served as chief curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale.

Titled uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things, the show promises to, in the words of its curator, draw ‘a line from the ongoing Catastrophes caused by colonialism towards an insistence on being truly Alive’, foregrounding ancestral and indigenous systems of knowledge. In isiZulu, ‘uMoya’ denotes ‘spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.’

The exhibition will draw on more than 30 artists and collectives including Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Brook Andrew, Eleng Luluan, Gala Porras-Kim, Julien Creuzet, Nicholas Galanin, Raisa Kabir and Torkwase Dyson, with works spread across the city’s art venues from Bluecoat, FACT Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery to Tate Liverpool and Victoria Gallery & Museum, with further galleries to be announced.

Khanyisile Mbongwa. Courtesy Tatyana Levana Photography; Liverpool Biennial

Mbongwa said in a statement: ‘Wind often represents the fleeting and transient, the elusive and intangible, but I remember my first moment standing at the docks in Liverpool and feeling the wind in my bones. The same wind that made Liverpool the epicentre for the trade of enslaved people and a city that built itself through each ‘merchant’ ship. And I wondered, how can this wind redraw the lines of cartography as pathways for a reckoning to occur? How can it gesture towards healing through implementing systems of care that would allow for a sacred return?’

‘A return to self that aligns the celestial and ancestral, a return where one is not denied access to themselves, a return where all that is lost or stolen is acknowledged, remembered, accounted for, ignited and returned.’

The participating artists so far confirmed are:

Albert Ibokwe Khoza
Antonio Obá
Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński
Benoît Piéron
Binta Diaw
Brook Andrew
Charmaine Watkiss
David Aguacheiro
Eleng Luluan
Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales
Francis Offman
Gala Porras-Kim
Isa do Rosário
Julien Creuzet
Katy’taya Catitu Tayassu
Kent Chan
Lorin Sookool
Lungiswa Gqunta
Melanie Manchot 
Nicholas Galanin
Nolan Oswald Dennis
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum
Rahima Gambo
Rahmi Hamzi 
Raisa Kabir
Ranti Bam
Rudy Loewe
Sandra Suubi
Sepideh Rahaa
Shannon Alonzo 
Torkwase Dyson
Unmute Dance Theatre

Most recent


We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy.