Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung Appointed Chief Curator Of The 2025 São Paulo Biennial

The Berlin-based Cameroonian curator, HKW Director and Founder of SAVVY Contemporary, Ndikung, to serve as Chief Curator for the 36th Biennial, scheduled to take place in the second half of 2025. Ndikung’s curatorial project will be presented in the second half of this year, along with the members of his curatorial team.

by GRIOT - Published on 07/04/2024
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Photo: Jana Edisonga / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Ndikung is a prominent figure within the global contemporary art scene. His unique, interdisciplinary trajectory combines institution building as a practice, curatorial praxis with emphases on performativity, sonic, installative and visual arts, critical theory and discourse with an academic background in medical biotechnology and biophysics. Ndikung’s commitment to the intersection of art and science, together with his innovative vision, culminated in his appointment as director and chief curator of Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) as of January 2023, after his tenure as founding director of SAVVY Contemporary. Ndikung is also a professor at the weißensee academy of art berlin. He has previously been involved in significant projects such as Documenta 14 (Kassel, Athens, 2017), as curator-at-large; the Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale in Senegal (2018), as chief curator; co-curator of the Finnish Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale; and as artistic director of Bamako encounters (Bamako, Mali, 2019 and 2022).

“To say that I am happy to be appointed chief curator of Bienal de São Paulo would be an understatement. I am thrilled, honored and humbled to embark on this journey with a team of co-curators and the brilliant Bienal de São Paulo team led by the foundation’s president Andrea Pinheiro. Bienal de São Paulo is not only one of the oldest and most important biennials in the world, but as one of the very few free-admission biennials, it has proven in the past 73 years to be a biennial of and for the people. With its pathbreaking exhibitions, public and pedagogical programs, the Bienal de São Paulo has succeeded in bringing art to varying communities and demographic groups. Despite the challenges that biennials are facing around the world, they still serve as important barometers for measuring the sociopolitical pressures of the world. The Bienal de São Paulo seems to me to be a seismograph that not only records the different tremblements the world is experiencing socioeconomically, geopolitically and environmentally, but these records also give us the possibilities of shaping a more just, humanitarian future for all animate and inanimate beings on this planet. I am not only looking forward to continuing my long-term research in Abya Yala at large and Brazil in particular, but also to connecting my current practices as director, pedagogue and curator across geographies,” said Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.

Ndikung’s curatorial project was selected by the president of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, Andrea Pinheiro, through a curatorial committee made up of the president, vice president Maguy Etlin, president of the Governing Board Eduardo Saron, board members José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, Ligia Fonseca Pereira, Marcelo Araujo, Susana Steinbruch and Paula Weiss, with the secretariat of Antonio Lessa, chief operating officer of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo. Andrea Pinheiro points out that: “In his curatorial work, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung acts as a driving force that challenges boundaries and contributes to shaping the future of global contemporary art. I am sure that the 36th Bienal de São Paulo will continue to play its provocative role and be attentive to current issues, continuing the developments brought about by our most recent editions.”

The 36th Bienal de São Paulo is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2025, and Ndikung’s curatorial project will be presented in the second half of this year, along with the members of his curatorial team.

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