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The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) announced that Kapwani Kiwanga will represent Canada at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia from the 20th of April until the 24th of November, 2024.

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Kiwanga is recognised as one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary artists whose research-driven work is instigated by marginalised 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 Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Widely recognised 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 Decolonisation, 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 woven elegantly throughout her artworks. She is interested in the role of art as a catalyst for revealing and addressing alternative and often silenced, marginalised socio-political narratives that are part of our shared histories. It is an honour for me to have been invited to curate the Canada 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 International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 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. For more than 60 years, the Canada Pavilion, situated in the Giardini in Venice, has featured the work of the most accomplished Canadian artists, curated by the country’s most renowned curators.

Canada’s representation at the international exhibition has played a part in shaping the role and place of Canadian contemporary art within international circles, helping to launch or elevate the international careers of many of the country’s most celebrated artists including Jean-Paul Riopelle, Michael Snow, Geneviève Cadieux, Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Rebecca Belmore, David Altmejd, Shary Boyle, BGL, Geoffrey Farmer, Isuma, and, in 2022, Stan Douglas.

For more information, please visit the National Gallery of Canada.

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