Hot off the heels of Venice, another biennial is set to open this summer, this time in the UK. Decidedly more under-the-radar but tackling an important theme, the second edition of the Brent Biennial in the north-west London borough of Brent, home to Wembley Stadium, will feature 12 artists’ projects located in 12 different venues and public spaces under the title In the House of My Love (8 July-11 September). Participating artists include Rasheed Araeen, Mohammed Zaahidur Rahman and Rebecca Bellantoni.
The biennial takes as its starting point the tenth anniversary of the Hostile Environment policy in the UK. The human rights organisation Liberty outlines what “hostile environment” is, saying: “Since 2010 the government has launched a wave of attacks on the human rights of undocumented people—meaning people who can’t prove they have a right to live in the UK—through a set of policies known as the ‘hostile environment’.”
The biennial curator, Eliel Jones, says in a statement: “The artists and community groups that have been invited to participate in the second edition of the Brent Biennial so far all speak in various ways to the immigrant, feminist and queer traditions that have for a long time nurtured a sense of home outside or away from home, in Brent and beyond.”
The Warsaw- and London-based artist Alex Baczynski-Jenkins will, for instance, show a film about four friends in Warsaw, reflecting the hostile environment in Poland for LGBTQ+ people. Rebecca Bellantoni says: "I am making the second element of a new performance and moving-image work. It is part of a larger project entitled C.R.Y: Concrete Regenerative Yearnings. The first part, entitled First, everything happens. C.R.Y, was just shown at the ICA in London."
In addition, four community-led commissions, by artists such as Ed Webb-Ingall, will be unveiled in collaboration with organisations including the advocacy body Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons' Trust while four public works by Brent-based artists will be commissioned in partnership with the media organisation BuildHollywood and the art non-profit Studio Voltaire. The biennale is organised and funded by the Metroland Cultures charity.
The inaugural biennale in 2020 included 23 new commissions and projects across public spaces, libraries and streets as part of the Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture festival.