The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) announced that Kapwani Kiwanga will represent Canada at the 60th International Venice Biennale from April 20 to November 24, 2024. Kiwanga is recognized as one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists whose research-driven work is instigated by marginalized or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Her presentation in Venice will be curated by Gaëtane Verna, Executive Director, Wexner Center for the Arts.
Angela Cassie, Interim Director & CEO of the National Gallery of Canada, commissioner of the Canada Pavilion in Venice, said: “The NGC is proud to present Kapwani Kiwanga’s work for Canada at the 60th International Venice Biennale. Widely recognized for her singular approach, Kiwanga’s work presents rigorous research in imaginative ways to enable historically excluded narratives to flourish. I would like to congratulate our national jury members in choosing such a timely and provocative voice to represent the vital role and place of Canada in international contemporary art.”
The artist was selected by experts in contemporary Canadian art comprised of Daisy Desrosiers, Director and Chief Curator, Gund Gallery at Kenyon College; Heather Igloliorte, Concordia University Research Chair and Co-Director, Indigenous Futures Research Centre; Michelle Jacques, Head of Exhibitions and Collections/Chief Curator, Remai Modern; Adelina Vlas, Head of Curatorial Affairs, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery; and Tania Willard, Assistant Professor of Creative Studies and Visual Arts, University of British Columbia, Okanagan.
The co-chairs for this year’s artist selection committee—NGC’s Michelle LaVallee, Director, Indigenous Ways and Decolonization, and Jonathan Shaughnessy, Director, Curatorial Initiatives—said: “Kiwanga’s interdisciplinary approach to art making has received international attention for its eye-opening investigations into the structures, systems, and narratives underlying today’s power asymmetries. The treatment of space for Kiwanga is an artistic gesture. Working across sculpture, mixed-media installation and performance, her projects often pay close attention to the sites in and on which they are exhibited.”
Canada Pavilion Curator Gaëtane Verna, Executive Director, Wexner Center for the Arts, added: “Kapwani Kiwanga delves into the archives of the world and conducts in-depth research that is weaved elegantly throughout her artworks. She is interested in the role of art as a catalyst for revealing and addressing alternative and often silenced, marginalized socio-political narratives that are part of our shared histories. It is an honour for me to have been invited to curate the Canadian Pavilion, in continuous conversation with Kiwanga, and I look forward to supporting her in every aspect of this momentous project in which she will undoubtedly transcend the materials that she will choose to use to transform our own understandings of the world.”
The Venice Biennale is the largest and most prestigious contemporary art exhibition in the world with more than 80 participating countries. The exhibitions on view at the Canada Pavilion are commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada and produced in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. The Canadian representation in 2024 is made possible through the National Gallery of Canada Foundation.
Kapwani Kiwanga (Hamilton, Ontario) is a Canadian and French artist based in Paris. She studied anthropology and comparative religion at McGill University in Montreal, art at l’école des Beaux-Arts de Paris and at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains in Tourcoing. In 2022, Kiwanga received the Zurich Art Prize (CH). She was also the winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize (FR) in 2020, Frieze Artist Award (USA) and the Sobey Art Award (CA) in 2018. Solo exhibitions have been shown at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; New Museum, New York; State of Concept, Athens; Moody Center for the Arts, Houston; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel/Bienne; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (USA); Esker Foundation, Calgary; Power Plant, Toronto; Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago; South London Gallery, London, and Jeu de Paume, Paris, among others.
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