NIRIN Virtual Tour: Art Gallery of New South Wales

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

A Dickensian Circus A Dickensian Circus (2020) by Karla DickensBiennale of Sydney


NIRIN at the Art Gallery of New South Wales is situated throughout the ground level, occupying the facade, vestibule and entrance court, and intervening within the collection in the Grand Courts. Opening up dialogues across different architectural spaces and within existing displays, NIRIN invites inspiring modes of intervention, new ways of telling histories and stories, dynamic sensory experiences, and radical transformations of space, with the aim of shifting the way we experience traditional museum architecture and display.

A strong theme informing this exhibition is DHAAGUN (earth, sovereignty and working together). Sovereignty is taken beyond a legal definition of authority to consider cultural, emotional, spiritual and ancestral ties to place. Many artists draw upon serious and playful relationships between popular culture, place and community. They gather narratives of individual and collective survival that resist mainstream practices, racism and dispossession and through their work seek to redefine the status quo. 

NIRIN negotiates new visual proposals within these gallery walls to expand our understanding of what an ‘edge’ is and how to make more room for other possibilities.

Navigate through the Art Gallery of NSW and explore the artworks of NIRIN.

NIRIN at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2020)Biennale of Sydney

Machiluwvn / Iniciación / Initiation Machiluwvn / Iniciación / Initiation (2020) by Elicura Chihuailaf NahuelpánBiennale of Sydney

Elicura Chihuailaf Nahuelpán (Chile)

The blue banners of Machiluwvn / Iniciación / Initiation transform our experience of entering the colonial neo-classical facade of the Art Gallery of New South Wales with powerful messages by Mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf Nahuelpán. Read more

Karla Dickens (Australia)

In the grand surroundings of the vestibule, rusty, bent and gnarly sculptures of A Dickensian Circus divulge the hidden histories and stories of marginalised people. Explore the artwork

Musa N Nxumalo (South Africa)

These energised photographs - Are the fees gonna fall or nah? and Moonchild Sanelly - Anthology of Youth are wallpapered across the entrance wall to the Grand Courts, projecting a youthful vibrancy that is both infectious and transformative. Explore the works of Nxumalo

Barbara McGrady (Australia)

These three striking images - Black Lives Matter, Sovereignty Never Ceded and Justice for TJ Hickey - capture moments of protest and remembrance and dynamic stories of individual and collective action in public spaces. Dramatically scaled up, the photographs serve as a testimonial to the urgent continued struggles and unfinished stories that are embedded within. View the artworks

Kunmanara Mumu Mike Williams (Australia)

Filling the entrance court are banners bearing words and images from Kunmanara Mumu Mike Williams' personal archive, projecting his belief in the power of words to effect change.

Explore Mr Williams' powerful works

The Mulka Project (Australia)

Watami Manikay (Song of the Winds) is an immersive collaborative performance by the Yolŋu digital artists of The Mulka Project - a collective of highly active artists who work with cutting-edge digital technologies, producing video art that links across land, recording and archiving song and everyday life. Read more

Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar/France)

The black textile interventions of THERE MIGHT BE NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD AS GOOD AS WHERE I AM GOING TO TAKE YOU create a shifting experience which plays with our viewing perceptions of the Gallery's collections. Explore the artwork

Emily Karaka (New Zealand)

Emily Karaka's powerful paintings reflect her physical involvement in Māori Land Rights and Treaty Claims issues. The works are almost cartographic, creating visual space on each canvas that is tethered to material, cultural and political geographies and languages. View the artworks

Préfète Duffaut (Haiti)

A shipbuilder, artist, poet and mystic, Duffaut started painting after a woman urged him to do so in a dream. His paintings vividly depict his dreams – usually imaginary cities and boat-filled harbours in the bay of Jacmel – and reveal his poetic sensibility, mystical tendencies and broad imagination. Learn more

Mostaff Muchawaya (Zimbabwe)

The colourful, layered paintings of Muchawaya present a complex mix of portrait and self-portraiture, autobiography and fiction, closely tied to place and memory. View the artworks

Karim Bleus (Haiti)

Bleus presents sculptures made with wood carvings mixed with recycled metals, including the pictured Sosyete (Society) and Migrasyon (Migration). View the artworks

Josep Grau-Garriga (Spain/France)

Retaule dels penjats (Altarpiece of the Hanged People); and Màrtir (Martyr) presents a monumental tribute to unknown martyrs throughout time. Read the story

Lhola Amira (South Africa)

AmaKhosi displays an intimate set of mini icons of 'so(u)ldiers' placed on a bed of healing salt. Read more

Iltja Ntjarra (Many Hands) Art Centre (Australia)

Painted with beautiful landscapes and marked with powerfully assertive messages, these 'dollar shop' bags trace stories of Country and struggles with housing and displacement. View all of the artworks

Rosana Paulino (Brazil)

Búfalas (she buffalos) and Jatobás (archetypes of female wisdom) investigate and celebrate the representation of black women in Brazilian society. View the images

Bronwyn Katz (South Africa)

Imbedded within the Gallery’s collection works, Katz explores the interaction between the visual and the aural. The titles of the sculptural works ǂ, //, / and ! are based on four click consonants from endangered southern African languages. View the artworks

Maria Thereza Alves (Brazil)

In OIKOVYTERI ITEKO'A MÔĪNGUEVYA (Decolonization Continues) a newspaper written in Guarani and English sits among a display of 18-19th century European art, highlighting oppression and racial violence in Brazil. Alongside this, A Casa da Maria (Maria’s House) is a testimonial to the late Maria Gansha, whom Alves met in her father’s village in 1983. Read more

Andre Eugene (Haiti)

"My piece is called Life & Death, because from the moment you are born you are sucking on the breast of death. The motivation behind my work is to change the situation for life and art in Haiti, and for the rest of the world to understand that Vodou is the soul of the people in Haiti." Read more

The White Album The White Album (2018/2019) by Arthur JafaBiennale of Sydney

Arthur Jafa (USA)

The political, intimate and pop-cultural film footage in Arthur Jafa’s The White Album constructs a portrait of the United States of America and a racialised view of the complexities of ‘whiteness’ through personal opinion and confronting news events that continue to affect many people today. Read more

Keep exploring NIRIN at the Art Gallery of New South Wales or take another NIRIN Virtual Tour.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Related theme
NIRIN: Art From the Edge
The Biennale of Sydney (2020) presents contemporary art from around the globe in a First Nations-led exhibition
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