Another four artists have announced their withdrawal from the 19th Sydney Biennale, which opens to the public on 21 March. The move is in response to the activities of the Biennale’s founding sponsor, Transfield, which is involved in implementing the Australian government’s policy of the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

The withdrawal – by artists Agnieszka Polska, Sara van der Heide, Nicoline van Harskamp and Nathan Gray – follows last week’s announcement that five artists were pulling out of the Biennale. This came after an open letter to the Biennale’s organisers had called on them to sever all links with Transfield and to seek new sponsors.

A statement from the four artists on the #19BoS Working Group website said: “After much consideration, we have decided to withdraw our works from the 19th Biennale of Sydney, because of its relation to Transfield, a company involved in the Australian government policy of mandatory detention.

“Our motivations reflect those outlined in the statement issued by artists Ögüt, Castro, Ólafsson, Sofo and de Vietri on February 26… They close their statement by expressing their hope that others will join them in ‘solidarity with all those who are working towards a better future for asylum seekers.’ Our withdrawal is such an act of solidarity.

“We have requested the Biennale that our withdrawal be registered on their website and signposted at the physical site of exhibition, so that this action will not be unnoticed.”

The original open letter to the Biennale was sent on 19 February and signed by 46 participating artists, nine of which have since withdrawn from the Biennale.

More on

Artists withdraw from Sydney Biennale