Ballarat International Foto Biennale – Adjournment Matter

Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (19:14): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Creative Industries, and the action that I seek is for the minister to visit the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, the most significant biennial photographic festival in Australia.

The original plan for the 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale was that it would run from 28 August to 24 October. Over 58 days visitors would enjoy 29 curated exhibitions featuring 260 artists at more than 100 venues. Public art would be on display throughout Ballarat from the main street to down laneways and in shop windows.

The 2021 Biennale headline exhibition was a huge coup for Ballarat—to land the Linda McCartney: Retrospective exhibition. The retrospective has been curated by Paul McCartney and his daughters, Mary and Stella, and is being presented for the first time in Australia. Significantly, the exhibition can only be seen in Ballarat.

The Linda McCartney exhibition features more than 200 extraordinary photographs, including images of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison; McCartney family shots; and a series of prints from the McCartneys’ time in Australia between 1975 and 1993—wonderful images of Melbourne which have never been shown before.

However, as has been the case so often over the last 20 months, the challenges of the global pandemic prevented the crowds from coming to Ballarat from Melbourne, from interstate and internationally. It was so disappointing for so many.

Fortunately the extraordinary Fiona Sweet, the creative director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, was able to negotiate with the McCartney family for the Linda McCartney: Retrospective exhibition to be extended to 9 January 2022. This is wonderful news. This will allow so many people the opportunity to visit Ballarat to enjoy the 2021 biennale. It is just the tonic we all need.

With more exhibitions and artists than ever before, the 2021 Biennale is one not to be missed. I look forward to welcoming double-vaxxed Melburnian art lovers from this weekend and visitors from interstate and internationally.

The 2021 Biennale also boasts the Michael Gudinski exhibition in the basement of the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute, showcasing photos of some of the biggest artists signed to the Mushroom Records label. Another exhibition, In Translation, an exhibition of modern architectural photography, is in the Catobeen space at Ballarat’s wonderful $100 million GovHub and is certainly one to see.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the minister for his ongoing support of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and have no doubt the minister will thoroughly enjoy the 2021 Ballarat International Foto Biennale. I hope to welcome the Minister for Creative Industries to Ballarat very soon.


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