7 April 2021 — Announcement
Commissioned by the Scotland + Venice Partnership and curated by Glasgow International
On behalf of the Scotland + Venice partnership, Creative Scotland is delighted to announce that Alberta Whittle has been commissioned to represent Scotland at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with an exhibition of new work at the Arsenale Docks, S. Pietro di Castello, curated by Glasgow International.
Recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious festivals of contemporary art, the 2022 edition of La Biennale di Venezia will take place from 23 April – 27 November 2022.
This will be the tenth presentation commissioned by the Scotland + Venice partnership (Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland and the Scottish Government) – made possible by the generosity of National Lottery players, who raise £30million for good causes across the UK every week, and the Scottish Government – continuing to build Scotland’s strength and reputation as an important international voice in visual art and architecture.
Working in film, sculpture, print, performance and installation, Whittle’s work is often made in response to current events and draws on her research into the African diaspora and the decolonisation of Western histories. Major themes include colonialism, xenophobia, climate change and the global pandemic.
Amanda Catto, Chair of the Scotland + Venice partnership commented: “We’re thrilled to be working with Alberta Whittle on this timely and ambitious exhibition of new work for La Biennale in 2022. Alberta is a remarkable artist with a profoundly international outlook and a strong, empathetic practice.
“In deeply unsettling times her work offers us remarkable moments for honest reflection, deep connection and collective hope. We’re delighted that GI will bring their curatorial expertise to the project and we’re excited to see how the project will develop in the coming months.”
Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, Alberta Whittle lives and works in Glasgow and is a Research Associate at The University of Johannesburg. She was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award in 2020 and is PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh.
Alberta Whittle said: “After living in Scotland for nearly all of my adult life, I was thrilled to hear the news that I would be representing the country at the Venice Biennale. With so many urgent conversations on health, grief, refusal, race and healing at the forefront of my mind, now is the moment to ask questions about how we can unlearn and be more actively reflective on a personal level as well as collectively. I’m looking forward to using this opportunity to develop new work in these charged times.”
Over 2021, Whittle will be sharing new work as part of Art Night London, British Art Show 9, Liverpool Biennial, business as usual: hostile environment at Glasgow Sculpture Studios for Glasgow International and Right of Admission at the University of Johannesburg.
Richard Parry, Director, Glasgow International said: “Alberta Whittle is an extraordinary artist who addresses urgent issues of our time in a way that is at once candid, lyrical and incredibly graceful. We’re enormously excited to be working with her to create a substantial new project at the scale that this opportunity allows and to bring others on the journey as we do that. Exhibiting in Venice is an unparalleled chance to present the full depth of Alberta’s work to a wider public and we are thrilled at the prospect of this.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Alberta Whittle stands out as a Scottish-based artist who explores challenging questions on inequality and the environment in her acclaimed films, sculptures, performances and installations. I am pleased that she will be representing Scotland at La Biennale di Venezia in 2022, and I look forward to seeing what topics she will address and how she will present them.
“I am also pleased that Glasgow International, which already provides a world-renowned platform for our incredibly talented artists, is curating the Scottish exhibition in 2022 where Alberta will exhibit her work. I wish them every success on their commission.”
Whittle’s work has been acquired by major public collections including the National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Museums Collections, and the Contemporary Art Research Collection at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, as well as by other private collections.
Scotland + Venice has also appointed Lori Anderson as Development Manager to take forward the strategic development of this flagship project for Scotland. Lori has most recently been Executive Director at Creative Dundee and prior to this delivered the redevelopment of Collective on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. She is Vice Chair and Board member of Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN).
Scotland + Venice provides artists and architects based in Scotland with a valuable platform to showcase their work on the international stage at the Venice Biennale. A partnership between Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland and the Scottish Government. www.scotlandandvenice.com
Alberta Whittle Biography
Alberta Whittle’s creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-blackness. She choreographs interactive installations, using film, sculpture and performance as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces.
Alberta has exhibited and performed in various solo and group shows, including at Grand Union (2020), Copperfield, London (2020), Eastside Projects (2020), DCA (2019), GoMA, Glasgow (2019), Pig Rock Bothy at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2019), 13th Havana Biennale, Cuba (2019), Tyburn Gallery — Now Tyburn Foundation, London (2019), The City Arts Centre, Edinburgh (2019), The Showroom, London (2018), National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (2018), RAW Material, Dakar (2018), FADA Gallery, Johannesburg (2018), the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg (2017), FRAMER FRAMED, Amsterdam (2015), Goethe On Main, Johannesburg (2015), at the Johannesburg Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015), and BOZAR, Brussels (2014), amongst others.
Alberta’s writing has been published in MAP magazine, Visual Culture in Britain, Visual Studies, Art South Africa and Critical Arts Academic Journal.
Full information: https://www.albertawhittle.com/
Glasgow International is Scotland’s world-renowned biennial festival of contemporary art, taking place from 11–27 June 2021. Glasgow International showcases the best of local and international art for wide-ranging audiences. The festival continues to showcase Glasgow as a unique major centre for the production and display of contemporary visual art. Taking place in various venues and locations across the city, including Glasgow’s major art spaces and cultural institutions, the Festival is comprised of an ambitious programme which included exhibitions, events, talks, performances and projects by international and Glasgow-based artists.
The Scotland + Venice exhibition venue is the Arsenale Docks Cantieri Cucchini, S. Pietro di Castello, 40, 30122 situated between the Giardini and Arsenale, the two main sites of the Biennale. The venue was first used by the Scotland + Venice partnership for the 2019 presentation by Charlotte Prodger, SaF05.
The selection of the artist and curatorial team was made following an open, competitive process. Members of the selection panel were: Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland and Chair of the Scotland + Venice partnership, Simon Groom, (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), Norah Campbell (British Council), Fatos Üstek (in her capacity as Director of Liverpool Biennial), Zoé Whitley (Chisenhale Gallery).
Previous Scotland + Venice presentations: Charlotte Prodger (curated by Linsey Young with Cove Park in 2019), Rachel Maclean (curated by Alchemy Film and Arts in 2017), Graham Fagen (curated by Hospitalfield Arts in 2015), Duncan Campbell, Hayley Tompkins and Corin Sworn (curated by The Common Guild in 2013), Karla Black (curated by the Fruitmarket Gallery in 2011), Martin Boyce (curated by Dundee Contemporary Arts in 2009), Charles Avery, Henry Coombes, Louise Hopkins, Rosalind Nashashibi, Lucy Skaer and Tony Swain (curated by the National Galleries of Scotland in 2007), Alex Frost, Joanne and Tatham O’Neill, Cathy Wilkes (curated by Jason E Bowman and Rachel Bradley in 2005), and Zenomap (curated by Kay Pallister and Francis McKee in 2003).
The National Lottery has raised more than £41 billion for more than 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994. Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support people, projects and communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/
For images, interviews, information please contact:
Claire Thomson, Media Relations and PR Officer, Creative Scotland
Claire.Thomson@creativescotland.com / 07747 606 146