In early 2022, Liverpool Biennial announced the appointment of Khanyisile Mbongwa as the curator for the 2023 Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival. The former Chief Curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale 2020 will curate the 2023 Liverpool Biennial festival alongside the Liverpool Biennial team.
The 2023 Liverpool Biennial is the 12th edition of the festival, marking its 25th anniversary. The 12th edition will run from June to September 2023. The 11th edition took place in 2021 as the first UK contemporary to emerge post-lockdown.
“We are thrilled to have Khanyisile Mbongwa join us for the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial. Her longstanding curatorial concerns around care and repair will be vital in thinking about new futures together with the city,” Director of Liverpool Biennial, Sam Lackey, said – announcing Khanyisile’s appointment.
“She is an extraordinary asset to the team and Liverpool as we move towards recovery and build on the innovation and success of The Stomach and the Port. I look forward to welcoming her to Liverpool and working with her and our partners across the city as we look towards our 25th anniversary year.”
Khanyisile is a Cape Town-based independent curator, award-winning artist, and sociologist. She engages her curatorial practice as ‘Curing & Care’ to instigate the environment for emancipator practices, joy, and play.
She is the Curator of Puncture Points, founding member and Curator of Twenty Journey, and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She is also one of the founding members of the arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens, and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session.
The South African curator became a Mellon Foundation Fellow after completing her master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts, Public Art, and the Public Sphere at the Institute of Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town. She is a Ph.D. candidate at UCT, where her work focuses on spatiality, radical black self-love and imagination, and black futurity.
Her other projects include: Process as Resistance, Resilience & Regeneration – a group exhibition co-curated with Julia Haarmann, honoring a decade of CAT Cologne (2020), Athi-Patra Ruga’s solo at Norval Foundation titled iiNyanka Zonyaka (The Lunar Songbook) (2020) and a group exhibition titled History’s Footnote: On Love & Freedom at Marres, House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, Netherlands (2021).
Reacting to the appointment, Khanyisile said, “I am excited to work with the Liverpool Biennial team on the 12th edition and I’m curious to find out what the city will show me about my curatorial processes during my time there.”
“I am looking forward to co-creating with individuals, collectives, and organizations both within Liverpool and beyond and am interested to see how the city has established itself historically, how it sustains itself in this moment, and how it imagines its future.”