Liverpool Biennial is extremely excited to celebrate the opening weekend of the festival’s 12th edition: ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’ with three days of live offerings, performances, and celebrations.

On Friday 9th June, Liverpool Biennial hosts the Opening Party. The event will bring together international artists, local creatives, and the wider Liverpool community to acknowledge the work that has gone into producing the festival so far and embrace everything still to come. With an electric selection of live music and performances programmed by Africa Oyé, the Opening Party provides a space for release, celebration, and dance. The line-up includes SNO, KOF and Papu Raf.

On Saturday 10th June, Liverpool Biennial 2023 officially opens to the public, marking the start of an exciting summer at the UK’s largest arts festival. Visitors will be welcomed into historic buildings, unexpected spaces, museums and art galleries across the city to experience this year’s exhibitions.

The 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’ addresses the history and temperament of the city of Liverpool and is a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing. In the isiZulu language, ‘uMoya’ means spirit, breath, air, climate and wind.

The first official day of the Biennial also plays host to various events and live offerings. Albert Ibokwe Khoza provides an immersive live offering, titled ‘The Black Circus of the Republic of Bantu’, in the dramatic surroundings of the Tobacco Warehouse. Meanwhile, Lorin Sookool will take over St Luke’s Bombed Out Church with a site-specific, autobiographical movement and dance piece.

At Victoria Galley and Museum, author Christina Sharpe, artist Torkwase Dyson & Liverpool Biennial 2023 Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa take part in an exclusive in-conversation to discuss and unpack themes from this year’s festival. At Stanley Dock, Raisa Kabir undertakes a durational performance entitled ‘Our vessels for the stories, unspoken. Subaqueous violence. Sea. Ocean…’.

Closing the weekend, on Sunday 11th June, Albert Ibokwe Khoza will again provide a live offering of ‘The Black Circus of the Republic of Bantu’, exposing the violent and shameful legacy of ethnological expositions (such as human zoos and exhibitions), that were popular in Western society between the 1870s and 1960s.

For Liverpool Biennial 2023, more than 30 international artists and collectives have been invited to engage with ‘uMoya’ as a compass, divine intervention, and thoroughfare. We look forward to welcoming audiences to an exciting summer of free exhibitions, performances, screenings, community events, learning activities and fringe events over the next 14 weeks, shining a light on the city’s vibrant cultural scene.