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What is the Bonavista Biennale?
Bonavista Biennale 2017—Art Encounters on the Edge is a large-scale exhibition of contemporary Canadian art on the Bonavista Peninsula in Newfoundland. The exhibition brings together works by 26 leading Newfoundland, other Canadian and Indigenous artists on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“Biennale” (bee-enn-al-ay) is the Italian word for “biennial”—something that happens every two years. The term “biennale” is used for art exhibitions which happen every other year in cities around the world, the most famous (and first) being the Venice Biennale. There are also biennales is Berlin, Montreal, Vancouver, Shanghai, Marrakech, Bucharest and other places round the world. This year’s Bonavista Biennale is the first; subsequent Bonavista Biennales will be in 2019, 2021 and so on.
When is it happening?
Bonavista Biennale 2017—Art Encounters on the Edge launches on August 17 and runs until September 17.
Where is it happening?
Art Encounters on the Edge is taking place on the Bonavista Peninsula in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Peninsula begins about 200 km/125 mi. (on the TransCanada Highway) up the coast from St. John’s. Art Encounters is in 24 different sites on a 50-kilometer loop around the Peninsula.
How do I navigate the loop?
Exhibition sites are clustered in seven communities on the Bonavista Peninsula: Duntara, Bonavista, Elliston, Port Union, Catalina, Port Rexton, and Trinity on a loop from King’s Cove to Trinity (Routes 235 and 230). The loop can be done in either direction. There is an exhibition guide/map that shows the route and all the locations. Visitors make their way by car from location to location, stopping to see the artworks in places such as a micro-brewery, an abandoned fish store, an old schoolhouse, an unused seal processing plant, a beach and more.
Who are the artists?
The 2017 artists are: Sara Angelucci, Omar Badrin, Catherine Blackburn, Marlene Creates, Barbara Daniell, Michael Flaherty, Will Gill, Doug Guildford, Pam Hall, John Hartman, Iris Häussler, Dil Hildebrand, Matthew Hollett, Frank Lapointe, Elizabeth McIntosh, Steve Payne, Barry Pottle, Ned Pratt, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Kelly Richardson, Laura St. Pierre & Jon Bath, Michael Snow, Peter Von Tiesenhausen, Scott Walden, and Gayle Young.
What will I see in the exhibition?
There is a wide range of work, including painting, photography, outdoor sculpture installation, fibre art, performance, sound and video.
Who curated the exhibition?
The co-curators are:
Catherine Beaudette: An artist, curator, educator and community organizer, Catherine has long been involved in art initiatives that position art in the public realm—from initiating independent art exhibitions in a variety of alternative spaces to founding Loop Gallery in Toronto. She is Associate Professor at Ontario College of Art and Design University, and the Founder and Director of 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, a non-profit contemporary art gallery, historical artifact museum and international artist residency in Duntara, NL. She lives in Duntara and Toronto.
Patricia Grattan: Patricia was the Director and Chief Curator of Memorial University Art Gallery for over 20 years. Now an independent curator, writer and visual art consultant based on St. John’s, NL, she works with such organizations as Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island Festival, Queen’s University in Belfast, McMichael Canadian Art Collection and City of St. John’s. Patricia is one of five curators authoring a book on Canadian Indigenous and non-Indigenous landscape art (published in Fall 2017 by Vision 1, Vancouver). She received the Royal Canadian Academy’s RCA Medal for contributions to the visual arts in Canada and was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Hall of Honour, both in 2012.
Who is behind the Bonavista Biennale?
The Bonavista Biennale started as an idea among a few friends for a major art event on the Bonavista Peninsula. A volunteer organizing committee was formed to move the idea forward, securing financial and other support and laying the groundwork for the event. The Bonavista Biennale is a project of 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects, a non-profit gallery, museum and artist residency in Duntara, NL on Bonavista Bay. This year’s Biennale, Art Encounters on the Edge, is run by both volunteers and staff.
Why did you choose the Bonavista Peninsula?
The people involved in starting the Bonavista Biennale live full- or part-time in Newfoundland, most of them on the Bonavista Peninsula. They share a belief in and commitment to the potential for the area, and believe that a bi-annual major art exhibition of regional, national and international note can contribute to a future already unfolding in this new tourism “hot spot”. The Bonavista Biennale is a first for Newfoundland, unique in the Atlantic Provinces at this time, and significant in the Canadian cultural landscape. The organizers hope that the Bonavista Biennale will become a point of pride for both province and the peninsula, and an internationally-recognized cultural meeting place for artists, art lovers, tourists and residents.
How is the Bonavista Biennale funded?
The founding sponsor is Fishers’ Loft in Port Rexton, NL. Bonavista Biennale 2017 is also funded by the Canada Council for the Arts (New Chapter Fund), the Government of Canada (Canada 150 Fund and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and ArtsNL. We are raising additional funds from businesses and individual donors. We are also receiving significant in-kind support from local heritage and cultural and business organizations, communities and individuals, including those who are providing exhibition sites.