Creative Scotland has announced that Alberta Whittle has been commissioned to represent Scotland at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2022. She will create an exhibition of new work at the Arsenale Docks, S. Pietro di Castello, curated by Glasgow International.
Known for 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 she explores include colonialism, xenophobia, climate change and the global pandemic.
Whittle, who lives and works in Glasgow, 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 a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh.
Whittle, who was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, commented: “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.”
Amanda Catto, Chair of the Scotland + Venice partnership, added: “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.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said Whittle stands out as a Scottish-based artist who explores challenging questions on inequality and the environment. “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.”
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). Previous artists who have represented Scotland at Venice include Charlotte Prodger (2019), Rachel Maclean (2017), and Graham Fagen (2015).
The 2022 edition of La Biennale di Venezia will take place from 23 April – 27 November 2022.
1. Alberta Whittle. Photo: Matthew A. Williams