The Ballarat International Foto Biennale announces full program

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The full program for the 16th edition of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale: ‘Past. Tense. Now', has been announced. 

This year’s Biennale is set to feature a jam-packed lineup of exhibitions and events, scheduled to take place in Ballarat from late August to mid October 2021. 

Over the last decade and a half, the Biennale has become an important photographic arts festival in Australia. This year’s program will see more than 170 artists take over the buildings, galleries, cafés, streets and walls of the city.

BIFB - Martin Kantor Portrait Prize Finalist, photo by George Fetting 'Resolute'

Festival Highlights 

A key highlight in year’s program is the Australian Premiere of Linda McCartney: Retrospective, which will showcase over 200 images captured by the famous photographer, including a series of never-before-seen prints from McCartney’s time in Australia.

The exhibition, which has been curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, has been described by the festival organisers as “an intimate look into the life of the McCartney family along with photographs of the 1960’s music scene.” 

BIFB - photo by Linda McCartney, The Beatles, Abbey Road, London, 1969

Other festival highlights include: 

  • Number One | Gudinski a photographic exhibition celebrating Michael Gudinski’s lasting legacy and impact on the Australian music industry. 

  • An exhibition showcasing the finalists and winners of the Martin Kantor Portrait PrizeThe Prize was created to recognise exceptional portraits of significant Australians.

  • The Biennale will also transform the city of Ballarat to play host to a full program of free outdoor exhibitions. Bridge Mall will showcase Mass Isolation Australia, a photographic exhibition curated from over 12,000 images that were uploaded by photographers across rural, regional and metropolitan Australia to the #MassIsolationAus Instagram project. Created during lockdown in March 2020, the exhibition offers a visual record of the pandemic and its impact in Australia.
BIFB - photo by Chow and Lin, Ethiopia as part of Poverty Line
  • A series of artists talks and masterclasses will also form part of this year’s program, including artist talks with Ruth Maddison and Rachel Mounsey, two of the photographers behind Raining Embers, which showcases poignant images documenting the 2020 Australian Bushfires.

  • Biennale After Dark will see a series of digital exhibitions, events, live music and dining experiences take place in the city, including Eat. Drink, a partnership with six local restaurants to create bespoke dining experiences, and a special theatre production about women photographers, Picture Her. As part of Biennale After Dark, a number of photographic exhibitions are scheduled to be projected on to Ballarat Town Hall each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night throughout the 8-week program.
  • There will also be a digital program, a particularly useful way to enjoy the Biennale this year given the current Covid-19 outbreak. 

Tickets and festival passes are available for purchase now and you can see the full festival program here. 

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