Exploring the 60th Venice Biennale- Stranieri Ovunque

Exploring the 60th Venice Biennale- Stranieri Ovunque

The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale makes headway with its bold theme: 'Stranierei Ovunque'- translating as 'Foreigners Everywhere'. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, this year’s International Art Exhibition is distinctively thought-provoking, covering a mass of identity, migration and the interconnection of cultures. 


Installation view of Foreigners Everywhere (2004–) by Claire Fontaine and Refugee Astronaut VIII (2024) by Yinka Shonibare at the 2024 Venice Biennale. Photo: Mauro Zorzanello; courtesy La Biennale di Venezia.


In all its translations, the phrase 'Stranieri Ovunque' is also an ongoing work by Claire Fontaine- an art collective of British origin and currently based in Palermo, named after a brand of stationery. The work explores the differing interpretations of meaning that come with translation, as the phrase has the capacity to be used as both a complaint and unifying call. The title also has a unique meaning for Venice,with a population that more than triples during peak days due to the influx of tourists into the city.

"Wherever you go there are always foreigners around you, but you are also always a foreigner yourself in a way"- Adriano Pedrosa

Adriano Pedrosa was appointed as curator of the 60th Venice Biennale, and is the first Latin American to hold the title. He is the director for the prestigious Museu de Arte de São Paulo in Brazil, and is known for his commitment to showcasing the art of the Global South. Pedrosa was appointed as the recipient of the 2023 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence, and has curated extensive exhibitions globally.

As the first Latin American and out queer curator of the Biennale Arte, Pedrosa's distinctive show is pivotal for the history of the Biennale. The exhibition includes 332 artists- a mixture of contemporary practitioners and late artists mainly in the 20th century, and from the Global South. The exhibition is also consistent with his long-term curatorial project, drawing attention to global Modernisms and following the themes of his groundbreaking past exhibitions Indigenous Histories and Afro-Atlantic Histories


What is the Venice Biennale?

Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is a celebration of art and architecture. Now on its 60th anniversary, the Biennale attracts up to 600,000 international visitors each year and is one of the most prestigious cultural festivals globally. It typically occurs every two years, although there have been changes to the schedule in extraordinary circumstances such as WWI and WWII. In 1974 the show was dedicated in solidarity with Chile as a result of General Augusto Pinochet's genocide, and although the Biennale has now shown such political solidarity since, all iterations of the festival after have adopted the concept of an internationally unifying theme.


Dubbed "the Olympics of the art world", the festival is comprised of three parts:

  • A central exhibition organised by an artistic director in the Central pavilion in the public gardens and former dockyards
  • A series of national pavilions organised by dozens of countries offering a show of one or more artists
  • Independently organised, but officially approved exhibitions known as 'Collateral Events'

There are additionally other exhibitions and events planned to coincide with the festival that are not officially affiliated, including exhibitions put on by artists themselves, and the city of Venice's thriving scene of museums and commercial galleries.


There are three key awards given at the Biennale:

  • The Golden Lions: Awarded for the best national participation, and for the best participant in the main show
  • The Silver Lion: For the most promising young participant in the main show, presented by an international jury of curators

There are also various other awards, including two special mentions, and a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Any form of participation in the Biennale is a massive accolade for any creative, so the added prestige of receiving an award is a highly-sought after boost to the winning artist's career.


Headlines from the 60th Biennale

  • Jeffrey Gibson represents the US, marking the first time in over 90 years that an Indigenous artist has exhibited a solo presentation at the U.S. Pavilion
  • Mataaho Collective and Maiolino were recipients of this year's Golden Lion awards
  • Burberry were announced as the headline sponsor of the British Pavilion, merging the already blurry worlds of fashion and art


Highlighting Marginalised Voices

One of the many highlights of this year’s Biennale includes the works by Italian artists from the 20th century diaspora, as well an indigenous Amazonian art collective: MAHKU (Movimento dos Artistas Huni Kuin). The unique voices of these artists carry, challenge traditional narratives, expanding the texture of the arts and culture scene. 

The themes of otherness, identity, integration and interconnectivity resonate with the heart of Venice- a city historically known for its rich culture. The mediums transcend surface level conversations, steering the audience into the world of what it means to be branded as an ‘other’.

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