The Biennale of Sydney presents a three-month exhibition, with an accompanying program of artist talks, performances, forums, family events, guided tours and other special events, all of which are open to the public without charge.
The inaugural Biennale of Sydney was staged in 1973 to provide an international showcase for contemporary art. Its aim was to develop and present a program that challenged traditional thinking and encouraged new levels of enthusiasm for innovative creative expression. Visitation to the Biennale of Sydney has more than doubled over the last three editions, with the 18th Biennale of Sydney achieving a record 665,488 visits across all venues.
It was the first biennale to be established in the Asia-Pacific region and, alongside the Venice and São Paulo biennales and Documenta, is one of the longest running exhibitions of its kind. Today, it ranks as one of the world’s leading international festivals of contemporary art and continues to be recognized for showcasing the freshest and most provocative art from Australia and around the world. Since its inception, the Biennale of Sydney has showcased the work of nearly 1600 artists from over 100 countries. In Australia, it is the only free festival of any scale, offering free programs and free educational resources.
The biennial’s charter is to provide fresh curatorial perspective and independent artistic vision, and to act as a counterbalance to traditional institutionally driven programs, exhibitions and publications. The Biennale’s exhibitions, education and public programs, artists’ residencies and publications act as a cultural catalyst by encouraging innovation, experimentation and the communication of ideas.