Liverpool Biennial 2021 opens the second ‘inside’ chapter of exhibitions across the city on 19 May, bringing together the complete presentation of the 11th edition, The Stomach and the Port.

In line with Government guidance, this final chapter will open the doors to the city, welcoming visitors from across the country to safely enjoy the UK’s largest free festival of contemporary art. In the lead up to the festival, Liverpool Biennial has appointed Dr Samantha Lackey as the new Director of the Biennial.

Not only are Liverpool Biennial taking over unexpected and public spaces, historic sites and art galleries, but there are also online events for you to take part in!

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Dr. Samantha Lackey, Director, Liverpool Biennial:

“It is an honour to accept this appointment and to be part of such a strong and dynamic team here in Liverpool. During these past four months as Interim Director, I have witnessed the power of this Biennial’s creative vision, developed by Manuela Moscoso and our artists. Together they have created a vital and thought-provoking edition with The Stomach and the Port, addressing some of the big questions of our times and overcoming significant challenges which the pandemic has presented along the way. We are profoundly grateful to our supporters and partner venues, in particular Liverpool City Council, Arts Council England and the recent grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, this valuable contribution will enable us to open Liverpool Biennial 2021 safely and to play an active role in reigniting the cultural hub that is the city of Liverpool”.

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The Stomach and the Port, curated by Manuela Moscoso, presents a total of 50 artists from 30 countries around the world with 150 works of art, including 47 new commissions. It explores concepts of the body, drawing on non-Western thinking where the body is seen as fluid, being continuously shaped by, and actively shaping its environment. To navigate the breadth of the Biennial and to make connections between the artworks, a series of trails across the city will gather the exhibitions, outdoor sculptures and installations around the 3 curatorial entry points of The Stomach and the Port – Stomach, Porosity and Kinship.

The Stomach / Waterfront Trail highlights the role of the stomach, the bodily organ through which we engage with and digest the world. The stomach, similar to the port, is a place where the inside and outside meet and a process of transformation occurs. At the heart of this Biennial, is Liverpool’s history as a port city, an active agent in the process of modernisation, change, and colonialism. The Porosity / Business District Trail centres around the state of being porous; how our permeable skin reacts to the world around us, absorbing the history of our individual journeys.

Finally, the Kinship / City Centre Trail revisits the bonds and social relationships which connect us to the world, from our loved ones to our wider community, to other species and beyond, including every aspect of our environment – be it natural, technological or synthetic – that produces and sustains life.

Manuela Moscoso, Curator of Liverpool Biennial 2021, said:

The Stomach and the Port reflects on systems of exchange, how borders are not only geographic but also political and subjective constructs, the outcome of a historical process of division which began in the modern, colonial world. Developed over several years, this Biennial gathers practices that are deeply engaged with different forms of existence that challenge rigid categories. They include kinship, porosity, and bodily experience, embracing ways of digesting and continuously producing the world, rather than only consuming it. They also address bodies embedded in concrete historical, linguistic and cultural contexts, and knowledge that does not only come from the mind.  Rooted in decolonising our experience of the world, the artists collaboratively present a re-calibration of the senses and a catalyst for change.”

Stomach/Waterfront Trail

→ Tate Liverpool (until 20 June)

Ebony G. Patterson

→ Open Eye Gallery (until 6 June)

Zineb Sedira, Sugar Routes I, 2013

→ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Building (until 27 June)

David Zink Yi, Being the measure (Performance at Haus der Kunst), 2018

Tate Liverpool exhibits new commissions and existing works by Ines Doujak and John Barker, Linder, Jutta Koether and Ebony G. Patterson, alongside works from Tate’s collection including Judy Chicago, Nicholas Hlobo, Martine Syms, Anu Põder and Ithell Colquhoun.

Zineb Sedira’s large-scale sculptures and photographic prints from her series Sugar Routes (2013), depicting sugar extracted from different parts of the world and housed in a modern warehouse in Marseille, are juxtaposed alongside Alberta Whittle’s film, between a whisper and a cry (2019), a reflection on memory, labour and the afterlives of colonialism in our contemporary world at Open Eye Gallery.

David Zink Yi’s video installation Horror Vacui (2009) at the National Museums Liverpool’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Building, combines footage of rehearsals of the Cuban Latin band ”De Adentro y Afuera” with images of Afro-Cuban rituals.

Porosity / Business District Trail

→ Cotton Exchange (until 27 June)

Invernomuto & Jim C. Nedd, Grito – Las Brisas de Febrero (video still), 2021. Courtesy of the artists.

→ Central Library (until 27 June)

Yael Davids, A Reading That Loves—A Physical Act, 2017

Sonia Gomes, Xaviera Simmons and Invernomuto & Jim C. Nedd will present sculpture, photography and music at Cotton Exchange, each drawing on a multitude of narratives within the layered and entangled histories of the American experience with Simmons in particular looking at the construction of ‘whiteness’ in relation to the history of slavery and its legacy.

At Liverpool’s Central Library, Yael Davids’ new work Wingspan of the Captive (2021) references the Library’s 19th century book Birds of America by John James Audubon, and explores the concepts of migration, the sentiments of belonging, and what it means to look, to study and to be studied.

In a series of weekly phone calls,  A Regurgitation is a Song is a Spell (Consultations to recreate the colonial disease) (2021) by Luisa Ungar offers members of the public a personal experience to engage with experts in clairvoyance. The calls will take place three evenings a week from Thursdays to Saturdays (from 29 April until 27 June).

Kinship / City Centre Trail

→ Lewis’s Building (until 27 June)

Luo Jr-shin, Snails (not included), 2019

→ Lush Liverpool Spa (until 27 June)

Christopher Cozier, Gas Men Globe Install, 2015

→ FACT (until 29 August)

Black Obsidian Sound System at Somerset House, 2019

→ Bluecoat (5 September)

Jadé Fadojutimi, Jellyfish is a preferable state of mind, 2018

The Grade II listed former department store, the Lewis’s Building will open-up 3 of its floors for Liverpool Biennial 2021 to present a wide array of multi-disciplinary art works and new commissions.

New commissions at Lush Liverpool call for the end of violence and advocate for politics of care among humans and beyond, including Christopher Crozier’s exploration of the global oil economy’s impact on the Caribbean through drawing to Ayesha Hameed’s video installation, charting the first undersea telegraphic cable between India and Britain during the British Empire

Elsewhere, FACT presents The Only Good System is a Soundsystem (2021), a new audio-visual commission by B.O.S.S. (Black Obsidian Sound System), positioning sound system culture as a space of communal strength, where kinship is formed and reciprocated, against a background of repression and discrimination in the UK.

The artists exhibiting at Bluecoat also acknowledge the kinship attachments between humans and nature. Paintings by Jadé Fadojutimi explore the constant exchange between bodies and their environment as our identities continue to evolve.

Public Outdoor Trail

Teresa Solar, Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark), 2021.

Installation at Derby Square

To celebrate Liverpool’s iconic architecture and public spaces, the Biennial’s series of outdoor sculptures and installations will be extended on 23 April with the addition of Erick Beltrán’s sound and graphic works Superposition (2021), animating a fleet of ComCab taxis driving throughout the city, along with the arrival of Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s La Pensée Férale (2021) at Crown Street Park on 28 April.

Outdoor works already on display include Rashid Johnson’s Stacked Heads (2020) at Canning Dock Quayside; Teresa Solar’s Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark) (2021) at Derby Square; Linder’s Bower of Bliss (2021) at Liverpool ONE; Jorgge Menna Barreto’s mural Mauvais Alphabet (Liverpool) (2021) on the side of Bluecoat; and Larry Achiampong’s Pan African For the Relic Travellers’ Alliance (2017 – ongoing) which can be found at ten locations across the city centre.


Larry Achiampong – Pan African Flags For the Relic Travellers’ Alliance

Rashid Johnson – Stacked Heads

Linder – Bower of Bliss

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