Bonavista Biennale is a program of 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects and has its genesis in a 136 year old fisherman’s saltbox house in the community of Duntara on the east coast of Newfoundland. Many such houses have stood empty since the collapse of the fishery in the 1990s, many others have vanished. These structures are the tangible cultural heritage of past generations. In an effort to save an old house and revitalize a community, 2 Rooms opened its doors in 2012. Comprising an art gallery, museum and artist residency, 2 Rooms is a platform for contemporary art, on-site installation projects, and displays of material culture. Programming, including the Biennale, reflects the confluence of historical, natural and cultural conditions that exist interdependently in Newfoundland’s outport communities. Situated on the Bonavista Peninsula, the Biennale reflects the rise of “off-centres” as viable, desirable places to live, thrive and create. It brings together people of different origins within a shared domain that offers new ways of seeing and thinking about the world around us.
Underlying the Bonavista Biennale is the power of art. It gives us new ways of seeing, illuminates the complexities of society, reflects our experiences, intrigues and enchants us through artists’ skill and imagination. Encounters celebrates that power in contemporary Canadian artists’ work at this 150th “moment” in our history. Works by 25 Newfoundland and Labrador, other Canadian and Indigenous artists deal with current issues such as climate change, or with personal artistic exploration, through a range of media. But most also reflect in some way the rich physical, historical or cultural context of the Bonavista Peninsula. Diverse artworks have been matched with diverse and unusual sites and we have looked for common threads to lead viewers from place to place – and perhaps to some new place entirely, shaped by their Biennale encounters.
FUNDERS AND SPONSORS
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
We acknowledge the support of ArtsNL, which last year invested $2.5 million to foster and promote the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
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