The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years (in odd years) in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years.
Twenty years ago 53 countries were represented at the Venice event. This year there are 88 national pavilions, with Angola, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kuwait, theMaldives, Paraguay, Tuvalu and the Vatican officially appearing for the first time.
This year, Portugal achieved a first by sailing its pavilion all the way from Lisbon and parking it outside the Giardini, or Castello Gardens.
The exterior of the vessel has been covered with over 7,000 traditional tin-glazed, blue-and-white, hand-painted ‘‘azulejos’’ tiles depicting 20 kilometers, of the Lisbon skyline. It is inspired by the ‘‘The Great Panorama of Lisbon’’ of 1700.
Below decks the main saloon has been transformed into a mysterious, dark-blue sea cave, padded from floor to ceiling with crocheted and stitched soft submarine forms, pulsating with fairy lights and gently vibrating with the ship’s engine, evoking visions of the womb of Jonah in the belly of the Whale.