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ArTree Nepal, Not less expensive than gold, 2019, imitation gold leaf, papier mâché, dimensions variable. Photograph: Artree Nepal. Courtesy the artists.

The 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

arrow IMPORTANT: Advice for getting to Cockatoo Island
  • Main exhibition: Free



  • Tuesday 16 June to Sunday 6 September 
  • Opening hours: 10am to 4pm daily
  • Ferry
  • Water taxi
  • Private boat

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, NSW


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Cockatoo Island has been reimagined as an immersive contemporary art space for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney.

Between 16 June 2020 and 6 September 2020, visitors to the island are invited to engage with a series of public artworks anchored in this year’s theme: NIRIN.

NIRIN, meaning ‘edge’ in the language of the Wiradjuri People of western NSW, is a First Nations-led initiative as well as a forum for celebrated artists to reflect on the world today, challenge dominant narratives and propose exciting pathways for healing, founded in futurism.

The Biennale of Sydney has showcased the works of nearly 1800 local and international artists since its inception in 1973. Cockatoo Island has been one of the official venues for the leading contemporary arts event since 2008. This year, the artistic director for Biennale of Sydney is acclaimed Indigenous Australian artist, Brook Andrew.

Lisa Reihana, In Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, (detail) ultra HD video, colour, 7.1 sound, 64 mins, Courtesy the artist and New Zealand at Venice

Meet the artists

More than 30 artists and collectives have converged at Cockatoo Island to share their ideas, experiences and perspectives...

Some of the featured artists at Cockatoo Island include Tony Albert (Australia), Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana), Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Beirut), Anna Boghiguian (Egypt), Gina Athena Ulyssee (Haiti), Lisa Reihana (New Zealand),  Nicholas Galanin (Alaska) and Tennat Creek Brio (Australia, pictured here). 

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Biennale Staycation Deal
Save up to 20% on accommodation at Cockatoo Island when you stay with us during the Biennale of Sydney. Terms and conditions apply.
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Plan your trip

The easiest way to get to Cockatoo Island is via the direct ferry from Barangaroo...

Additional shuttle ferries will run between Barangaroo and Cockatoo Island from 9.45am to 6pm on weekends only. Be aware that ferries have capacity restrictions to ensure safe physical distancing between passengers. If a ferry has reached capacity, you will need to wait for the next service with available capacity.

If you are visiting on a weekday, avoid travelling during the morning and afternoon peak period. For travel on weekends, be mindful that ferries are typically busiest on weekends, especially Sundays. Consider these factors when planning your trip and allow for extra travel time.

For further information, including timetables, visit the Transport NSW website. You can also visit the island by water taxi, private boat or kayak.


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Food and beverage

You’re bound to work up a sizeable appetite as you explore the island's exhibition spaces. Keep your energy levels up by refuelling at one of these great food and beverage venues...

Visitor safety

Be mindful that attendance for the Biennale of Sydney exhibition at Cockatoo Island is expected to be busiest on weekends.

Numbers in each art space are being monitored, and you may be asked to queue up or move to another space to maintain safe physical distancing. The Biennale of Sydney has aligned with the Government’s recommended safety protocols and is working with the Harbour Trust to ensure exhibition spaces at Cockatoo Island are safe for visitors, with strict social distancing and hygiene protocols in place. Further, the Harbour Trust will continue to both carry out a heightened level of cleaning across the island and direct visitors to follow social distancing rules and practice strong hygiene, including around shared public facilities.

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