La Biennale di Venezia is a design-based organization holding biennially one of the greatest events on the architectural calendar in the world. Fast approaching is the 2016 event, with a number of first-time pavilion appearances. The exhibition aims to promote debates about architecture and urban design issues facing a breadth of societies around the world. A number of regularly appearing countries, well established at the event, have permanent national pavilions in the city. Each Biennale has a specific theme set by the event’s director, in which the artists and curators then have to follow. The Biennale then commences with a two-day opening ceremony, accompanied by a host of activities including opportunities to tour the exhibitions and meet the artists and curators.
This year, a number of first-time countries are showcasing their work; 2016 is the first year that a Nigerian Pavilion has appeared. The Spazio PUNCH, an industrial building, is being used as a site-specific exhibition to accommodate the work of architect-artist Ola-Dele Kuku. Kuku, originally from Lagos, Nigeria, was trained at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Started in Milan in Italy, his private practice focuses on conceptual interventions in architecture, with a specific focus on philosophy, theory and composition. He has since featured in a number of exhibitions, gaining various prestigious awards over the collective years, as an experienced and talented designer. He now lives and works in Brussels, involved in the establishment of a ‘Post-Conflict Rehabilitation’ Programme, a course focused on giving the opportunity to people to study art, design and architecture in an academic setting.
The curator working on this project is Camilla Boemio. As a first-time entrant, the Nigerian team saw it within their interests to collaborate with someone with previous experience in the Biennale. Boemio, a writer, curator, consultant and researcher, whose practice deals with looking into the politics of participation in curatorial practices, has worked on a number of high-profile projects, featuring in a number of design-based exhibitions. Most importantly, in the 55th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, she collaborated with the Maldives Pavilion, working as the deputy curator on the piece. With her experience and background, she is a key member of the Nigerian team, who as first-time entrants are looking to build a solid foundation for continued participation in the future events of the Biennale.
The 15th International Architecture exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday 28th May 2016. For more information on the architect-artist Ola-Dele Kuku, check out his website. To find out more about the work of Camilla Boemio, take a look at her blog and website.
By Ella O’Neill