The 2024 Adelaide Biennial of Australian art, Inner Sanctum offers an encounter with artists and poets interested in the human condition. The project unfolds across exhibitions, performances and talks that explore our engagement with the world and each other. Here, the idea of an inner sanctum illustrates the private or sacred spaces we create and the faculty of imagination that allows us to see culture and society differently.

As curator Da Silva explains, ‘Inner Sanctum offers a snapshot of contemporary Australia that is reflective and hopeful. We see works that conjure expressions of time and atmosphere, relationships between ancestral knowledge and spiritual guidance, and a slower, less transactional, more sustainable engagement with the world. We find our inner sanctum in gardens and walking tracks, memories and stories of home and family, locations of special knowledge and sacred activities, and, importantly, the working spaces of artists and the art museum environment.’

Key Dates

Media Preview | Thursday 29 February 2024, 11am

Vernissage | Thursday 29 February to Sunday 3 March 2024

Exhibition Season | Friday 1 March to Sunday 2 June 2024

Social Media

@agsa.adelaide #adelaidebiennial #agsaadelaide #adelaidefestival

Media Contacts

Cheree McEwin | M +61 416 181 679 | E mcewin.cheree@artgallery.sa.gov.au

Oliver Marshall | P +61 8 7085 1619 | E marshall.oliver@artgallery.sa.gov.au

History of Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

  • The Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art was first established in 1990 and has been running ever since, making it the longest-running survey of Australian contemporary art.
  • The Adelaide Biennial is a vital component and highlight of the Adelaide Festival since 1990.
  • Known for its risk taking and expansive vision, each iteration of the Adelaide Biennial responds to a different theme or premise.
  • The Adelaide Biennial features the latest works of art by leading contemporary artists from all corners of the country.
  • The Adelaide Biennial is defined by experimentation and innovation and is known for its role in accelerating the careers and profiles of Australian artists.
  • The Adelaide Biennial was established in 1990, to coincide with Artist’s Week, a five-day talkfest introduced to give visual Arts more of a platform in the Adelaide festival.
  • The Adelaide Biennial was introduced to further capture the growing interest in contemporary Australian Art.
  • Presented in association with the Adelaide Festival, and with generous support received from the Art Gallery of South Australia Biennial Ambassadors Program and Principal Donor The Balnaves Foundation and Creative Australia.
  • Since 1990, conceived as part of the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art has created career-defining opportunities for close to 500 artists, and been experienced by more than 1.7 million visitors.
  • Works from the Adelaide Biennial have a life beyond the exhibition. Future opportunities for presentation and acquisition are generated, and for hundreds of artists it is a pivotal career platform. AGSA acknowledges that over the last ten years the Adelaide Biennial has generated projects which have gone on to have had significant impacts in expanding artist markets through career development opportunities, defining excellence within the creative industries and enhancing ongoing international connections for the Australian visual arts sector. Examples include:
    • The Kulata Tjuta project is an excellent example, which began its life in the 2014 Adelaide Biennial, and led to inclusion in exhibitions presented across the United States of America.
    • Recent opportunities for artists and communities have included the Ken Sisters inclusion in the Bangkok Biennale (2022), Sera Waters in the Busan Biennale (2022), Megan Cope at the Palais de Tokyo (2021) and Yhonnie Scarce’s inclusion in the curatorial agenda at Fondation Opale, Switzerland (2021).
  • AGSA, through the Adelaide Biennial, is committed to promoting Australia’s cultural brand to the world and strengthening the national and international reputations of artists. Examples include:
    • Kulata Tjuta project which began its life as a 2014 Adelaide Biennial project, and has recently led to exhibitions in France, Germany and the United States of America. These projects have proliferated into further opportunities for artists and communities including the recent Bangkok Biennale.
    • Other international outcomes for Adelaide Biennial artists include presentation in the Busan Biennale; the creative programming at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris; and inclusion in the curatorial agenda at Fondation Opale, Switzerland.
  • Works from the Adelaide Biennial never begin and end their life as part of the exhibition. Future opportunities for presentation and acquisition are generated, and for hundreds of artists it is a pivotal career platform. Of course, the State’s collection has also been enriched. AGSA has also opened its collection to contemporary visual artists who have reinterpreted and decolonised the collection, making it anew for contemporary audiences.
    • Artists who best exemplify this include Nicholas Folland, Julie Gough, Fiona Hall, Susan Jacobs, Jonathan Jones, Tom Nicholson, Tom Polo, Patrick Pound, Bluey Roberts and Michael Zavros.
    • The AGSA building and audiences have also provided a platform for contemporary responses – this has been seen in the work of Australian Dance Theatre, APHIDS collective, Cordeiro and Healy, and Rhoda Tjitayi. AGSA’s forecourt and façade have provided an expanded field of opportunities with works by Mikala Dwyer, Lindy Lee, Tom Moore, Kate Scardifield and Ian Strange.
  • Inclusion in the Adelaide Biennial amplifies the reputation of featured artists on a global scale and provides the opportunity for artists and their representatives to leverage this for future commissions and exhibitions. Further outcomes for Adelaide Biennial artists include the acquisition of works by public institutions and increasingly private collectors, further exhibition opportunities, public commissions, art prizes, and residencies.
  • The AGSA building, forecourt, façade and its audiences have also provided platforms for contemporary responses – this has been seen in the work of Australian Dance Theatre, APHIDS collective, Mikala Dwyer, Cordeiro and Healy, Lindy Lee, Tom Moore, Kate Scardifield, Ian Strange and Rhoda Tjitayi.
  • AGSA is committed to amplifying the accessibility and appetite for touring Adelaide Biennial projects. In recent years the Adelaide Biennial has achieved regional impact to great success within South Australia and nationally with previous artist projects touring to regional venues. These include: