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South African Curator Appointed to Curate the 2023 Liverpool Biennial Arts Festival

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The curator for the 2023 Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s largest contemporary visual arts event, Khanyisile Mbongwa, was announced in early 2022. Along with the Liverpool Biennial team, the former Chief Curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale 2020 will curate the 2023 Liverpool Biennial festival.

The 2023 Liverpool Biennial is the festival’s 12th edition, honoring its 25th anniversary. The 12th edition will take place between June and September 2023. The 11th edition takes place in 2021, as the first post-lockdown UK contemporary event.

“We are thrilled to have Khanyisile Mbongwa join us for the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial. Her longstanding curatorial concerns around care and repair will be vital in thinking about new futures together with the city,” Director of Liverpool Biennial, Sam Lackey, said – announcing Khanyisile’s appointment.

“She is an extraordinary asset to the team and Liverpool as we move towards recovery and build on the innovation and success of The Stomach and the Port. I look forward to welcoming her to Liverpool and working with her and our partners across the city as we look towards our 25th anniversary year.”

Khanyisile is a sociologist, award-winning artist, and independent curator living in Cape Town. She uses her curatorial approach as ‘Curing & Care’ to create an environment conducive to emancipatory practices, joy, and play.

She is a founding member and Curator of Twenty Journey, as well as the former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She is also a founder member of the Gugulective arts collective, Vasiki Creative Citizens, and the WOC poetry collaborative Rioters In Session.

After earning her master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts, Public Art, and the Public Sphere at the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Creative Arts, the South African curator was named a Mellon Foundation Fellow. She is a doctoral student at UCT, where she studies spatiality, radical black self-love and imagination, and black futurity.

Her other projects include: Process as Resistance, Resilience & Regeneration – a group exhibition co-curated with Julia Haarmann, honoring a decade of CAT Cologne (2020), Athi-Patra Ruga’s solo at Norval Foundation titled iiNyanka Zonyaka (The Lunar Songbook) (2020) and a group exhibition titled History’s Footnote: On Love & Freedom at Marres, House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, Netherlands (2021).

Reacting to the appointment, Khanyisile said, “I am excited to work with the Liverpool Biennial team on the 12th edition and I’m curious to find out what the city will show me about my curatorial processes during my time there.”

“I am looking forward to co-creating with individuals, collectives, and organizations both within Liverpool and beyond and am interested to see how the city has established itself historically, how it sustains itself in this moment, and how it imagines its future.”

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