Liverpool Biennial 2023

10 June - 17 September 2023

uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things was the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial and was curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa.

In 2023, the Biennial addressed the history and temperament of the city of Liverpool and was a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing. In the isiZulu language, ‘uMoya’ means spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.

Image shows Raisa Kabir's art instillation. A wooden structure with red cloth, hanging down. To the left is a walking stick suspended by red cloth and ropes run along the floor.

The festival explored the ways in which people and objects have the potential to manifest power as they move across the world, while acknowledging the continued losses of the past. It drew a line from the ongoing catastrophes caused by colonialism towards an insistence on being truly alive.

At the Bluecoat, four artists were featured within our galleries: Nicholas Galanin presented an intimate film following conversations between the artist and his son; Raisa Kabir’s installation included textiles and films which examined the cultural politics of cloth, labour and embodied geographies; Kent Chan’s Hot House created a humid environment that brings into question the displacement of artefacts, artworks and objects; And Benoît Piéron combined joyful textiles and plants in an installation stemming from a childhood spent in hospitals and the resultant politicisation of his body.

About Liverpool Biennial

Taking over historic buildings, unexpected spaces and art galleries, Liverpool Biennial - the UK’s largest free festival of contemporary visual art - has been transforming the city through art for over two decades.

New venues and sites were announced for the 12th edition which included historic buildings such as, Tobacco Warehouse and Cotton Exchange, as well as retail and leisure destination Liverpool ONE, which joined leading arts venues such as Tate Liverpool, Bluecoat, FACT Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery, Victoria Gallery and Museum and World Museum.

Over a 14 week period, the city of Liverpool was host to a dynamic programme of free exhibitions, performances, screenings, community and learning activities and fringe events, that shone a light on the city's vibrant cultural scene.

Nicholas Galanin

Nicholas Galanin (b. 1979, Sitka, Alaska Tlingit/Unangax̂) is a multi-disciplinary artist. Galanin’s work engages contemporary culture from his perspective rooted in connection to land. He embeds incisive observation into his work, investigating intersections of culture and concept in form, image and sound.

Image credit: Nicholas Galanin, Artist Portrait, 2021. Photo by Merritt Johnson

Kent Chan

Kent Chan (b. 1984, Singapore) is an artist, curator, and filmmaker based in Netherlands and Singapore. His practice revolves around our encounters with art, fiction and cinema that form a triumvirate of practices porous in form, content and context.

Image credit: Kent Chan, Artist Portrait. Courtesy of artist, Image by Diana Pfammatter for CCA Berlin

Raisa Kabir

Raisa Kabir (b.1989, UK/Bangladesh) is an interdisciplinary artist and weaver based in London. Kabir utilises woven text/textiles, sound, video, and performance to materialise concepts concerning the cultural politics of cloth, gendered archives, and colonial geographies.

Image credit: Raisa Kabir, Artist Portrait. Photo by Tiu Makkonen

Benoît Piéron

Benoît Piéron (b. Ivry-sur-Seine, 1983) creates moments, installations and objects. He is interested in the sensuality of plants, the borders of the body and the temporality of waiting rooms.

Image credit: Benoît Piéron, Artist Portrait. Courtesy the artist.