Liverpool Biennial 2023 at Victoria Gallery and Museum

Liverpool Biennial 2023 at VGM

The University of Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M) is displaying work by three internationally recognised artists as part of Liverpool Biennial 2023.

On from 10 June – 17 September, Liverpool Biennial returns to the city for its 12th Edition and the University’s gallery continues to play a key role in the festival.

This year, the spectacular 1890s gothic building will host new works by Charmaine Watkiss, and Gala Porras-Kim. These new commissions will be displayed alongside the large-scale interactive installation ‘Jardίm’ by Antonio Obá. ‘Jardim’ (2022), meaning Garden in Portuguese, consists of hundreds of brass bells, which invite visitors to follow a path through the work, encouraging active participation through the ringing of the bells.

This year’s festival, titled ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’ addresses the history and temperament of the city of Liverpool and is a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing. In the isiZulu language (one of the official languages of South Africa), ‘uMoya’ means spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.

Dr Amanda Draper, Curator of Art & Exhibitions, University of Liverpool said: “Liverpool Biennial is a key moment in the city’s cultural diary and we’re proud of the relationship we have with the festival. This year, we’re honoured to be presenting the work of Charmaine Watkiss, Gala Porras-Kim, and Antonio Obá and give our visitors the chance to explore the themes of this year’s festival.”

Dr Samantha Lackey, Director, Liverpool Biennial, said: “I believe that ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’ will be a beautiful and deeply felt festival across the city – that will both connect to Liverpool’s colonial past but also uncover possibilities for repair, healing and joy in its future.

“We are grateful to our curator Khanyisile Mbongwa and our 2023 artists for their passion and imagination and are especially thankful to our partner venues and funders for their support in bringing the festival to life.”

Liverpool Biennial events

Opening Party
To launch this year’s festival, the Liverpool Biennial is hosting a free opening party from 7.30pm on Friday 9 June, at Invisible Wind Factory with music programmed by Africa Oyé.

Book your free tickets here.

Opening the Door of No Return⁠
Join us on 10 June 2023 1.30 – 3pm at Victoria Gallery & Museum for an exclusive in-conversation event with author Christina Sharpe, artist Torkwase Dyson and Liverpool Biennial 2023 curator Khanyisile Mbongwa to discuss themes from Liverpool Biennial’s 12th edition. ⁠

To book your free ticket to this event click here. ⁠

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. Every two years the festival brings together international artists, arts professionals, communities and audiences to experience exhibitions across the city, alongside a hybrid programme of talks, performances and events, providing an opportunity for Liverpool and the UK to connect with the world, reflecting new ways of

‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’ is curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa with Director Dr Samantha Lackey and the Liverpool Biennial Team.

The artists

Antonio Obá (b. 1983)
Ceilândia, Brazil
Antonio Obá investigates the influence and contradictions within the cultural construction of Brazil, giving rise to an act of resistance and reflection on the idea of national identity.

His works have been included in exhibitions in cities across Europe, South America and China.

Charmaine Watkiss (b. 1964)
London, UK
Charmaine Watkiss’s work is concerned with what she calls ‘memory stories’.

She creates narratives primarily through research connected to the African Caribbean diaspora, which is then mapped onto female figures. She draws herself as a conduit to relay stories which speak about a collective experience; starting with an idea, then allowing intuition and a dialogue with the work to take over. Her practice addresses themes including, ritual, tradition, ancestry, mythology and cosmology. She has exhibited in solo and group shows across the UK and her work is held in private and public collections in the UK and North America.

Gala Porras-Kim (b. 1984)
Bogotá, Colombia
Gala Porras-Kim investigates institutional and linguistic frameworks that define, legitimise and preserve cultural heritage. The multi-award-winning artist has exhibited in countries across the world including the UK, North America, South America, and Korea.

Victoria Gallery and Museum

Housed in a spectacular 1890s gothic building, the Victoria Gallery and Museum is a vibrant mix of the historic and the new. Throughout the year, the gallery presents a programme of themed displays drawn from the University of Liverpool’s extensive and growing art collection, complemented by a changing exhibition programme of modern and contemporary art.

Admission to the building is free. There are weekly guided tours of the building and frequent events and workshops for all ages. The building also houses the popular Waterhouse Café, named after its internationally-renowned architect, Liverpool-born Alfred Waterhouse.

Victoria Gallery and Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm. The venue will also be open on Sunday 11 June, 11am – 4pm during the Liverpool Biennial’s opening weekend.

Image credit: Antonio Obá, ‘Jardim’, 2022 and Gala Porras Kim ‘Future spaces replicate earlier spaces’, 2023 . Liverpool Biennial 2023 at Victoria Gallery & Museum. Courtesy of Liverpool Biennial. Photography by Mark McNulty.