Huge Aussie art show wowing the world

The 23rd Biennale of Sydney, a hugely ambitious, vast exhibition, is the largest contemporary art event of its kind and one of the biggest events on the international art calendar. Spread across Sydney, it features about 330 artworks by 89 participants and has been curated by a team comprising the artistic director, Colombian curator José Roca, and co-curators Paschal Daantos Berry, Anna Davis, Hannah Donnelly, and Talia Linz.

This year’s event is called Rīvus, or “stream” in Latin; the artworks and commissions across all mediums and art forms have been made in response to ideas around water ecology and the climate emergency.

You can see huge site-specific immersive installations by extraordinary artists such as Kiki Smith, Marguerite Humeau, and climate activist artists Ackroyd & Harvey alongside Australian participants such as Badger Bates, Clare Milledge, Julie Gough, and D Harding across multiple sites including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Circular Quay, Barangaroo, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the National Art School and Artspace.

You will need several days and comfortable walking shoes.

At Barangaroo, Sydney-based collective Cave Urban has made Flow, one of the largest bamboo structures ever produced in Australia (it spans 600 sqm), inspired by the motion of a river. Celebrated international artist Kiki Smith will show a series of new large-scale tapestries about climate change and climate justice at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Marguerite Humeau’s The Dancers III & IV (2019)
Marguerite Humeau’s The Dancers III & IV (2019)

At the Art Gallery of New South Wales, English duo Ackroyd & Harvey, my personal favorites, are making a site-specific work based on research into native Australian grasses and ethnobotany. It’s hard to describe what they do, but, in essence, it’s a photographic portrait print on grass, in this case, a living artwork, of two Australian environmental activists. Of course, they will eventually fade and die – which is about as poignant a call to action as you can get about the climate crisis we are facing.

The 23rd Biennale of Sydney is free, until June 13.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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