Once upon a time, about 10 years ago, Ballarat’s Biennale of Australian Art Festival (BOAA) Director Julie Collins had an idea – to create the largest showcase of living Australian artists, ever. An event that would help drive Ballarat’s Renaissance as a city of arts and culture and herald a coming of age for Australian audiences and artists alike. Thus, the Biennale of Australian Art (or BOAA as we like to call it) was born!
So what is BOAA? Simply, with 150 artists from across Australia and 65 curated solo exhibitions at 14 heritage venues, BOAA is the six week event that will be a remarkable destination showcase of visual arts, live music, and the region’s food and wine.
This year BOAA will include extraordinary pieces from multicultural artists, as well as works with a strong indigenous focus. Exhibiting artists include, Northern Territory’s Numina sisters; Western Australia’s Abdul Abdullah and Ballarat’s very own Kim Anderson, with all works expressing subjective Australian stories of our past, present and future. A real highlight is that no other exhibition has had the mission to have equal representation of artists from each state and territory like BOAA has, and this is what makes BOAA a truly national event.
Alongside BOAA Art is BOAA Music: a fully integrated, curated music festival highlighting contemporary Australian musicians and utilising the BOAA Band Wagon. The BOAA Band Wagon is a purpose built music truck providing a backline and sound staging for outdoor music events.
Performances are scheduled every weekend at Lake Wendouree and St Andrews Grounds. Also featured in BOAA Music are a series of mid week lunch time and evening concerts at The Mining Exchange and special events will be held in the city’s premier historic venue, The Ballarat Mechanics Institute. The BOAA Pit Stops will also pop up in four locations over the six weeks, providing food and local beer and wines at the BOAA Music events
With a program that has been designed to encourage overnight stays with two day or festival passes available, special events and exhibitions to get to also include the Living Sculpture Fashion Parade, BOAA Dark and the Lake Sculpture Walk that will see the renowned Lake Wendouree turned into an outdoor art gallery with 36 sculptures sited along its 6-kilometre track.
With its celebrated Regional Gallery (The Art Gallery of Ballarat), significant public art collection, growing contemporary scene, heritage buildings and compelling natural environments, Ballarat is perfectly placed to host Victoria’s most significant contemporary visual art festival. It’s clear that the scale and physicality of Ballarat will provide the ideal “whole of town” gallery experience for audiences.
Located a 90 minute drive North West of central Melbourne, BOAA is set to spark the imaginations of its audience, including regional, interstate and Melbourne visitors, who expect boundary-pushing definitions of visual and interactive culture. Free mini buses, bikes and solar powered rickshaws will also be available as a mode of town transportation to add to the visitor experience.
With over 150 artists, 65 Solo Exhibitions, 30 bands and musicians, three villages, ‘Kids week’, ‘Seniors week’, workshops, talks, 36 sculptures around Lake Wendouree, festival bikes and Rickshaws, mini-buses and pit-stops for when your hungry, there really is something for everyone at BOAA 2018.
Get all the fixings through boaa.net.au. It runs from September 21 – November 6.
Feature photo by Tatjana Este.