syrian biennale
roots en route

Changing its location with every edition, following the route of Syrian refugees from Lebanon to central Europe and elsewhere, the syrian biennale is a nomadic exhibition showcasing Syrian, regional, and international artists within the framework of a biennale, taking place once every second year.

Since the tragic escalation of Syria’s political and social conditions in 2011, the country’s cultural geography has undergone a seismic shift. Damascus, once the beacon of Syrian culture, now shares its legacy with cities like Beirut, Istanbul, and Berlin, which have become the repositories and new representatives of Syrian art. The chosen locations mark a reversal of a typical migratory path, acknowledging the struggles and the potential of redefined belonging from national identity to international multilocality. However, this ambitious cultural project transcends countries, borders, and categories, focusing not on the identity of refugees but on the rich tapestry of experiences, expressions, and innovations that migration brings forth.

In a world plagued by existential threats such as climate change and constant human rights violations, art becomes a medium for engagement, and artists become a voice of change. People of diverse backgrounds, religions, and even opposing ideologies and political views will come together in search of an active exchange of varying viewpoints, leading to more creative and innovative thinking. While emphasizing the ‘Transit Narratives’ theme, the Biennale will inspire by movement, transformation, assimilation, and the intricate swinging between longing and belonging.

The Biennale’s themes will span around critical conversations such as Sustainability, Justice, Creative Activism, AI’s societal threat/impact, None-Western Intersectional Feminism, Mental Health,  etc., depending on proposed curatorial concepts for each edition. These will not merely be subjects but a call to action, a provocation, carefully organized and aligned with the Biennale’s committee and local and international partners to reflect our goals through universal consciousness.

The project is committed to representing an equal balance of Syrian artists (inside and outside their country), artists from the Biennale’s host country, and internationally acclaimed artists. Engaging with local art institutions, community centres, and civic organizations will foster a sense of shared ownership and cultural exchange. Using collaborative integration, creation, curation, and implementation as a methodological approach, the project will strengthen connections with host cities, local Biennales, cultural spaces and stakeholders to avoid power imbalances.

The Biennale aims to emerge as a platform for the scattered Syrian cultural communities and within the global art scene. It invites the dispersed Syrian community to assert its influential role through innovative themes and collaborations, weaving a vivid tapestry that encapsulates and safeguards Syria’s cultural heritage. This endeavour aims to counteract the fragmentation and displacement of Syrian identity, providing a constructive space for dialogue about Syria’s often misrepresented image in the media. It will be more than just another exhibition of contemporary art or refugee-oriented project – it will be a complete, responsive, and aware art event accompanied by talks, performances, workshops, music, films, and debates that will benefit the local community and build a sense of belonging for the newcomers.

With a commitment to a long-term vision, the syrian biennale encapsulates the urgent dialogues of the present and plants the seeds for future cultural engagements by aiming to be a seed for a Lebanese Biennale that will benefit from the created spaces, structures, and networks.

Coming soon!

This project is currently under development, please check this space regularly for updates.

Lab Project

The Lab category features emerging project concepts exploring future artistic possibilities. These sketches represent coculture's exploratory spirit, highlighting innovative ideas awaiting development.

While realization isn't guaranteed, this space invites viewers to envision the potential of transformative art and cultural narratives.

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