Venice Biennale kicks off with Diversity and Conflict

Venice Biennale kicks off with Diversity and Conflict

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Venice Biennale kicked off for the 7 month long art exhibition with a worldwide strong female representation, Icelandic efforts to bring art to significance and Muslim overture to the Venetian land.

The Annual Venice Biennale started this Saturday with enthusiasm and rigor. Showcasing arts in all form from across the world including performance arts. The majority of the worldwide representation this year is coincidentally by the fairer sex. It’s female domination this year at the Venice Biennale and these women are all from the more established Biennale participants in the Giardini, around one-third of the 89 national pavilions.

They include Joan Jonas for the United States, Fiona Hall for Australia, Irina Nakhova for Russia, Sarah Lucas for Great Britain, Chiharu Shiota for Japan, Pamela Rosenkranz for Switzerland and Camille Norment for Norway. While talking about their own pieces, the women inspired others and talked about how they themselves have been inspired. They talked about the support they have gotten from their families, curators and fans.

They expressed that they were inspired to see so many women representing their own form of arts which was evidence that women can engage in all kinds of arm and excel to such that they represent their countries internationally. Okwui Enwezor curated the exhibition and led the band of women in the revolution of women conducting the world famous exhibition. 

Controversy also struck the exhibition as the Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel and the Icelandic Arts Council commissioned to set up a contemporary mosque installation in the former Catholic church, Santa Maria della Misericordia which is privately owned. Iceland rented it to set up Buchel’s work. It was a representation of the Muslim art and calligraphy from which the artist claims that most of the Venetian art has been inspired from.

The mosque installation featured Muslim art and form and was an attraction for countless art admirers and connoisseurs gathered in the mosque to see the artistic set up. There were other attendees at the mosque on Friday that were there for a whole different purpose. Venetian Muslims headed towards the mosque to participate in the Friday Mosque procession.

Men and women headed to pray together in the mosque installation which was unsettling for the Venetian authorities. Although the environment at the installment was cordial and cheerful with music and food. The Venetian municipal authorities informed the Iceland Art Council that there set up could not be used for worship purposes.

Out of fear of anti-Islamic or pro-Islamic views towards the new installment, the authorities feared aggressive action which they will have to contain. They prohibited any religious specific activities in the vicinity of the mosque installment and urged Iceland and Buchel to keep it a simply artistic effort.

Buchel admitted that he had just wanted to be an artistic representation of an art form that could bring cultures together. He was thanked by the Pakistani Ambassador to Italy, Tehmina Janjua for his arts to revive Muslim art in such a beautiful way.

Sources: NYTimes

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