Biennale Arte 2024: Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere

The 60th International Art Exhibition, titled Strangers Everywhere – Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa and produced by the Venice Biennale, will be open to the public from Saturday, April 20 to Sunday, November 24, 2024. The spaces of the Giardini and the Arsenale will host this extraordinary exhibition celebrating cultural and artistic diversity from around the world. We asked Simona Gavioli, art critic, independent curator, and Phenomenology lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Catanzaro, to recommend the must-see works.

An exhibition dedicated to diversity and inclusion

The title of the 60th edition of the Venice Biennale Art Exhibition is taken from a series of works created by the collective Claire Fontaine starting from 2004: neon sculptures of different colors bearing the expression Strangers Everywhere in multiple languages, an expression itself inspired by the name of a Turin collective that in the early 2000s fought against racism and xenophobia in Italy: Strangers Everywhere.

Through a selection of works by 331 artists and collectives from 80 different countries, including places like Hong Kong, Palestine, and Puerto Rico, the Biennale aims to explore the diverse experiences of foreigners, immigrants, exiles, and refugees.

Themes explored in the exhibited works

The main focus of the Biennale Arte 2024 is on artists who embody the condition of foreigners and migrants, emphasizing their stories and unique perspectives. The event seeks to investigate the connections between the Global South and North through works that reflect on themes such as identity, memory, and journey.

Two predominant themes emerge from the extensive selection of works on display. The first concerns textiles, explored by numerous artists through various techniques and materials, highlighting an interest in craftsmanship and cultural traditions. The second theme focuses on the artist family, often bound by blood or marital ties, who transmit knowledge and artistic practices across generations.

Historical Core and Global South

A significant part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Historical Core, which features 20th-century works from various regions of the world, including Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Three special sections offer an exploration of the Global South, challenging the boundaries and definitions of modernism through abstract works and portraits that reflect diverse cultural realities.

Collateral Events and Special Projects

In addition to the main exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2024 presents a series of Collateral Events approved by the Curator, taking place at various venues in the city of Venice. Among the Special Projects stand out the works of Italian artist Nedda Guidi and Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, offering further reflection on diversity and artistic creativity.

Awards and opportunities

The Biennale College Arte, in its second edition, offers financial support and visibility to four talented emerging artists, while the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement are awarded to Anna Maria Maiolino and Nil Yalter for their extraordinary contribution to the world of art.

An opportunity for academic training

Lastly, the Biennale dedicates the Biennale Sessions project to Universities, Academies, and all institutions involved in research and education in the fields of arts and architecture, offering a unique opportunity for learning and knowledge exchange.

Regarding events and in this case the Venice Biennale, we reached out to Simona Gavioli, an art critic and independent curator, and asked her what she particularly liked in Venice. We also took the opportunity to have her tell us about her relationship with art and how she experiences it both professionally and in her personal life.


Good morning Simona, last week the 60th edition of the Venice Art Biennale 2024 opened its doors and you visited it during the pre-opening, what did you particularly like and why? What should our readers absolutely see?

Last week I attended the preview for professionals of the 60th edition of the Venice Biennale: STRANGERS EVERYWHERE, what excited me the most were two National Pavilions: Australia and Poland. The Australia Pavilion presented an extraordinary work, the project Kith and Kin by Archie Moore while Poland presented a project by the Open Group collective titled Repeat After Me. If I had to recommend something to the public to see at the Biennale that deserves a sincere WOW, these are, in my opinion, the two best Pavilions.


Tell us about one of the projects you are working on and that you are particularly proud of

For the past nine years, I have been working on the Urban Regeneration Festival in Mantova called Without Frontiers, Lunetta a Colori. It is one of the projects I am most attached to because, in addition to having carte blanche on the artistic choice, made in synergy with Riccardo Lanfranco, my partner in crime for the project, I work with the residents of the Lunetta neighborhood on concepts that are fundamental to me: love, sharing, cooperation, collaboration, cohabitation, brotherhood, gender equality, and reappropriation of a place. Without Frontiers is a project that started as a Urban Art Festival with the participation of national and international artists, but over the years it has become the starting point for a change that has a lot to do with the power that human beings have to change together.


For your work, I imagine you spend a lot of time analyzing and interpreting works of art. I wonder, when you come across a piece that deeply resonates with you, are you still able to separate professional analysis from personal emotion? And if so, how do you find that balance?

I have spent my whole life - and still do - in front of works of art or reading books. I analyze, study, interpret, critique, open windows of reflection. I don't believe you can separate professional analysis from personal emotion, because the analysis of a work of art is always a subjective opinion tied to individual thought. To try to be as sincere as possible, I study the history and the path of the artist in front of me, but I never do it beforehand, so as not to be influenced. For example, when I entered the Australian Pavilion, I didn't read the curatorial project beforehand, I let amazement and wonder be the first feelings to emerge, then I had all the press material sent to me and there, I understood that my feelings and my gaze had not made evaluation errors.


Is there a work of art that has had a significant impact on your life beyond the professional context?

My existence has never been separate from my professional life, I am what I have always done. Art is everything to me. Of course, if I have to tell you a work of art or maybe two that have influenced my life, I would say View of Toledo by El Greco and We loved the revolution so much by Alfredo Jaar.