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Ibrahim Mahama's stunning art din Cockatoo Island Turbine Hall
Photograph: Zan WimberleyIbrahim Mahama's stunning art decks the Turbine Hall.

Biennale of Sydney closes doors, goes digital

By Stephen A Russell
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Bringing a world of incredible international artists to Sydney's major galleries and totally transforming Cockatoo Island, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney has been forced to adapt to the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Tuesday March 24, all associated exhibitions, including at the MCA and the Art Gallery of NSW, will shut up shop until further notice.

It's a sad situation for a game-changing year that saw Wiradjuri man Brook Andrew become the Biennale's first Indigenous Australian artistic director this year. Under the banner "Nirin", a Wiradjuri word meaning "edge", the showcase of 700+ artworks by 101 artists put First Nations creatives from all over the globe front and centre.

The good news is: all is not lost.

Running with our altered reality, the Biennale will switch to digital, bringing inspirational art to an even wider audience across the globe. Working hand-in-hand with partner Google, Nirin will switch to the Google Arts & Culture platform, creating a virtual Biennale of podcasts, Q&As, curated tours and artist takeovers.

"At times like these, it is more important than ever that we find ways to connect, to help each other, listen, collaborate and heal," a spokesperson for the Biennale said. "We will allow our artists to lead the way in responding to the urgent social, political, and environmental issues we are facing today."

Craving more? Here's how to find more art online in Sydney.

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