Khanyisile Mbongwa Announced as Curator for Liverpool Biennial 2023

Khanyisile Mbongwa

Liverpool Biennial is delighted to announce the appointment of Khanyisile Mbongwa as Curator for the 12th edition, which will take place June – September 2023. 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival.

Mbongwa, previously Chief Curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale 2020, will curate the 12th edition with the Liverpool Biennial team.

The 11th edition of Liverpool Biennial, the largest festival of contemporary visual art in the UK, took place in 2021 as the first UK contemporary arts festival to emerge post lockdown. The Biennial, titled The Stomach and the Port, was curated by Manuela Moscoso and the Biennial team.

Khanyisile Mbongwa, Curator, Liverpool Biennial 2023, said:

“I am excited to work with the Liverpool Biennial team on the 12th edition and am curious to find out what the city will show me about my curatorial processes during my time there. I am looking forward to co-creating with individuals, collectives and organisations both within Liverpool and beyond and am interested to see how the city has established itself historically, how it sustains itself in this moment and how it imagines its future.”

Sam Lackey, Director, Liverpool Biennial, said:

“We are thrilled to have Khanyisile Mbongwa join us for the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial. Her longstanding curatorial concerns around care and repair will be vital in thinking about new futures together with the city. She is an extraordinary asset to the team and Liverpool as we move towards recovery and build on the innovation and success of The Stomach and the Port. I look forward to welcoming her to Liverpool and working with her and our partners across the city as we look towards our 25th anniversary year”

Khanyisile Mbongwa is a Cape Town-based independent curator, award-winning artist and sociologist who engages with her curatorial practice as Curing & Care, using the creative to instigate spaces for emancipatory practices, joy and play.

Mbongwa is the curator of Puncture Points, founding member and curator of Twenty Journey and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She is one of the founding members of arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session. Mbongwa was a Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Institute of Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, where she completed her masters in Interdisciplinary Arts, Public Art and the Public Sphere, and has worked locally and internationally. She is also currently a PhD candidate at UCT where her work focuses on spatiality, radical black self love and imagination, and black futurity.

Formerly Chief Curator of the 2020 Stellenbosch Triennale, her other recent projects include: Process as Resistance, Resilience & Regeneration – a group exhibition co-curated with Julia Haarmann honoring a decade of CAT Cologne (2020), Athi-Patra Ruga’s solo at Norval Foundation titled iiNyanka Zonyaka (The Lunar Songbook) (2020) and a group exhibition titled History’s Footnote: On Love & Freedom at Marres, House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, Netherlands (2021).

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