Who's Coming to Venice Biennale 2019? Confirmed Artists So Far (Part VII)

February 23, 2019

We are already only three months away from the opening of the 58th edition of the world’s best known International Art Exhibition of contemporary art scheduled precisely for the period from 11 May to 24 November 2019. Under the title May You Live in Interesting Times, the Venice Biennale 2019 will gather more than eighty national pavilions.

We already featured the first, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth group of artists representing their countries, so the list below provides a brief description of the latest group of national pavilions which will be present this year in Venice.

Featured image: Alexander Ponomarev - Submarine, Venice Biennale 2009. Image creative commons

United Arab Emirates - Nujoom Alghanem

The first on our list is the United Arab Emirates pavilion. Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil, the curators of the National Pavilion UAE decided to invite the award-winning poet and filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem to represent the country with a site-specific video installation.

Namely, the artist is an established one, primarily because of her volumes of poetry. On the other hand, Alghanem produced a number of documentaries focused on the gender issues and social cannons, such as Nearby Sky (2014), Sounds of the Sea (2015), Honey, Rain and Dust (2016), and Sharp Tools (2017).

In joint efforts, The Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development commissioned the national pavilion. The UAE have been present in Venice Biennale since 2009 and hold a permanent pavilion in the Arsenale.

Featured image: National Pavilion UAE 2019 artist Nujoom Alghanem. Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE - La Biennale di Venezia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Danica Dakic

Next up is the national pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina which welcomes the artist Danica Dakić, who will show a new film installation titled the Zenica Trilogy. This piece tends to question the issues of collective and individual responsibility in the context of contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dakić stated:

Once the site of one of the largest steel factories in Europe and the symbol of Yugoslav modernist progress, the period after the Bosnian war has left the city of Zenica facing high rates of unemployment, extreme air pollution as well as a general feeling of resignation among the population.

The artist usually works with video and photography and devotedly explores the themes of memory, history, politics, and various ideologies. The Bosnian pavilion is curated by Anja Bogojević, Amila Puzić, and Claudia Zini and is commissioned by the Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art Sarajevo; it will be located at the Palazzo Ca’ Bernardo in Sestriere San Polo.

Featured image: Danica Dakić - Zenica Trilogy (still), 2019. © Danica Dakić, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn/Courtesy the artist.

Poland - Roman Stanczak

Poland chose the artist Roman Stańczak to represent the country at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The director of Warsaw’s Zachęta National Gallery of Art Hanna Wróblewska commissioned the pavilion which will be curated by Łukasz Ronduda and Łukasz Mojsak.

Stańczak will show a new sculpture called Flight; it will be an actual airplane deconstructed aimed to achieve the reversal of the world.

Sharon Lockhart (2017), Yael Bartana (2011), and Krzysztof Wodiczko (2009) were the artists who previously represented Poland at the Venice Biennale.

Featured image: Roman Stańczak - Regal, 1996. Image via creative commons.

Madagascar - Joel Andrianomearisoa

This year for the first time that Madagascar will take part in the Venice Biennale. The country selected the artist Joël Andrianomearisoa to represent it, due to his international reputation and the and maturity of his work. His project will be curated by Emmanuel Daydé and Rina Ralay Ranaivo. The Madagascar Pavilion will be fully financed by national and international private funds.

This first participation of Madagascar in Venice is an apparent manifestation of dynamism and flexibility. It will contribute to the betterment of the international image, and it reflects hope and willingness to support the creative forces of Madagascar.

Featured image: Joël Andrianomearisoa – Untitled. Image courtesy the Madagascar Pavilion

North Macedonia – Nada Prlja

The newly named North Macedonia selected the artist Nada Prlja to represent the country at the 58th Biennial of Art in Venice. The project Subversion in Red, was proposed by the Museum of Contemporary Art in the capital of Skopje, after the Ministry of Culture examined three other applications. The project of Nada Prlja was especially interesting due to thematic design and methodology of artistic approach and is, according to the jury, currently referent in international terms and in the context of the theme of the 58th Biennial.

Featured image: Nada Prlja - Subversion in Red. Image courtesy the North Macedonia Pavilion

Croatia – Igor Grubic

Following up is the national pavilion of Croatia, which will be represented by the internationally recognized artist Igor Grubić. His project Traces of disappearance (in three acts) will be curated by curator Katerina Gregos. After the public call, sixteen proposals were received, however, the project of Gregos and Grubić, was selected since it fully and qualitatively answers all the criteria considered.

Featured image: Portrait of Igor Grubić. Image courtesy the Croatian Pavilion

Zimbabwe - Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Neville Starling, Georgina Maxim, and Cosmas Shiridzinomwa

The national pavilion of Zimbabwe will be represented by the artists Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Neville Starling, Georgina Maxim, and Cosmas Shiridzinomwa. The project titled Soko Risina Musoro is refereeing to the poem of the same title by a Zimbabwean writer Herbert Chitepo. The exhibition will be curated by Raphael Chikukwa, while the executive director of the National Gallery Doreen Sibanda serves as its commissioner.

Georgina Maxim is a co-founder of the Village Unhu art space in Harare, and her work is centered on the hidden histories behind the traditional African textiles. Cosmas Shiridzinomwa is best known for her lavish works interwoven with sociopolitical references, while Sterling produces multimedia installations based on explorations of memory and personal history. Hwami, on the other hand, creates delicate figurative paintings often formatted as portraits.

Featured image: Kudzanai-Violet Hwami - Hosanna! Hosanna!, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Tyburn gallery

Pakistan – Naiza Khan

The last on our list the national pavilion of Pakistan. At the 58th Biennale di Venezia, the multi-disciplinary artist Naiza Khan will represent the country and mark its debut at this international event. During the last decade, Khan explored the consequences of the gentrification of sites such as Karachi harbor and Manora Island. Her research-based process aims to determine wider changes in the Global South.

The project Manora Field Notes will be curated by Zahra Khan and will reflect everyday life of the Manora Island according to the artist, by encompassing archival material, historical myths, conversations with local communities and architectonic phenomena such as ruins and construction sites. Naiza Khan stated:

The project for Venice is a culmination of several years of exploration and research, looking at the material culture of Karachi, a port city, and its surroundings. Ideas of friction, optics, and atmospheric climates emerge as central to my current concerns. I feel honored to represent Pakistan and to share this new body of work, situating it within a larger conversation that links Venice to the Persian- Indian- Arab peninsulas through histories of empire and maritime trade.

Featured images: Naiza Khan - The Land Itself, 2014, Watercolor, 46 x 61 cm; Artist Naiza Khan and curator Zahra Khan. Image copyright Carlotta Cardana.