The 36th Bienal de São Paulo appoints Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung as the Chief Curator

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung/Photo Credit: Jana Edisonga I Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Asia 728x90

Berlin, 02.04.2024

Fundação Bienal de São Paulo today announced the appointment of  Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung as the Chief Curator of the 36th Bienal de São Paulo.

The Bienal de São Paulo is one of the oldest and most important biennials worldwide.

Its 36th edition is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2025.

The Berlin-based Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) whose Director and Chief Curator Dr Ndikung is, congratulates him on taking this important task in addition to his HKW directorship.

In a statement issued in Berlin today, the HKW says that it  looks forward to the HKW’s ever growing international exchange, and the role it‘s going to play in the edition of the Bienal.

Reacting to the news of his appointment, Prof. Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung stressed that he was “thrilled, honoured and humbled to embark on this journey.

“The Bienal de São Paulo seems to me to be a seismograph that not only records the different tremblements the world is experiencing socioeconomically, geopolitically and environmentally, but these records also give us the possibilities of shaping a more just, humanitarian future for all animate and inanimate beings on this planet.

Prof Ndikung went on further to say that, he was especially looking forward to connecting his current position as Director and Chief Curator at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), his current practices as pedagogue and curator across geographies, and especially HKW’s long term research on Quilombismo.

“Being an institution that is guided by the quest for strategies of how to live and better inhabit this world together, HKW proposes concepts of the world that embrace pluralities of cultures, epistemologies, sociopolitics, spiritualities, and ways of being in the world. I see my new role at the Biennale as a mandate to understand this mission even more globally,” Prof Ndikung emphasised.

The 36th Bienal de São Paulo is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2025, and Ndikung’s curatorial project will be presented in the second half of this year, along with the members of his curatorial team.

Born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung is a prominent figure within the global contemporary art scene. His unique, interdisciplinary trajectory combines institution building as a practice, curatorial praxis with emphases on performativity, sonic, installative and visual arts, critical theory and discourse with an academic background in medical biotechnology and biophysics. Ndikung’s commitment to the intersection of art and science, together with his innovative vision, culminated in his appointment as director and chief curator of Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) as of January 2023, after his tenure as founding director of SAVVY Contemporary. Ndikung is also a professor at the weißensee academy of art berlin.

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung’s career
Ndikung moved to Berlin, Germany, in 1997 where he studied at the Technical University of Berlin (TU), did a doctorate in Medical Biotechnology from Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf/TU Berlin and a post-doctorate in biophysics from Université de Montpellier, France. His scientific experience is intertwined with his commitment to contemporary art, and he stands out as an innovative curator and prolific writer.

As the founding director of SAVVY Contemporary (Berlin, Germany), Ndikung goes beyond the conventional boundaries of an exhibition space. His approach challenges traditionally established concepts, making SAVVY Contemporary a unique discursive platform for exhibitions, performances and events.

Ndikung has worked as a curator at world-renowned events including documenta 14 (Kassel, Germany/ Athens, Greece), the Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale (Senegal), and the Venice Biennale (Italy), where he was co-curator of the Finnish Pavilion in 2019 and a member of the jury in 2022. His participation in the curatorship of Performeum at the Wiener Festwochen (Austria) in 2017 and his appointment as artistic director of sonsbeek20->24 in the Netherlands, as well as his artistic directorship of the Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography in 2019 and 2022, highlight his global presence.

Recognized for his contributions, Ndikung received the Order of Merit of Berlin in October 2020, honoring a decade of work of SAVVY Contemporary and its crucial role in Berlin’s cultural scene.

Selection Process
Ndikung’s curatorial project was selected by the president of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, Andrea Pinheiro, through a curatorial committee made up of the president, vice president Maguy Etlin, president of the Governing Board Eduardo Saron, board members José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, Ligia Fonseca Pereira, Marcelo Araujo, Susana Steinbruch and Paula Weiss, with the secretariat of Antonio Lessa, chief operating officer of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo. Andrea Pinheiro points out that: “In his curatorial work, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung acts as a driving force that challenges boundaries and contributes to shaping the future of global contemporary art. I am sure that the 36th Bienal de São Paulo will continue to play its provocative role and be attentive to current issues, continuing the developments brought about by our most recent editions.”

About Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Founded in 1962, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is a private, nonprofit institution with no party political or religious ties, whose actions aim to democratize access to culture and foster interest in artistic creation. Every two years, the Fundação holds the Bienal de São Paulo, the largest exhibition of the Southern Hemisphere, and its traveling exhibitions program in several cities in Brazil and abroad.