THE FIRST BRENT BIENNIAL - Art presented in public spaces, libraries and streets of Brent

The first BRENT BIENNIAL in 2020 presented over 20 brand new artworks inspired by the cultures, places and people of Brent.

From sculptures to sound art, large-scale murals to intimate installations, Brent Biennial told the stories of Brent then, now and tomorrow – and of the people who have been made and shaped by the borough.

The Biennial took art out of the galleries and museums and into public spaces right across Brent - to be sought out or encountered by chance – on buildings and billboards, in laundrettes and across 10 community and council libraries.

Featuring international and Brent-based artists including Rasheed Araeen, Imran Qureshi, Dawn Mellor, Jude Wacks, Jaykoe, Yasmin Nicholas and Ruth Beale, every work was specially commissioned by and created for Brent 2020 – and all of them could be seen for free.

In collaborationg with ArtReview, we also published a series of exclusive online interviews with artists who have worked with and within the libraries to create new work, including Avant-Gardening, John Rogers​, Dawn Mellor​, Ruth Beale, David Blandy and Dan Mitchell​.

You can still download the Brent Biennial leaflet and map to have all the projects in your pocket.

Public Programme Partner ArtReview.

Supported by

Download the Brent Biennial leaflet and map

The Library at Willesden Green. Photo courtesy of Thierry Bal.

Community and council libraries have collaborated with 10 artists to present new commissions, including an interactive sculpture by Rasheed Araeen at Willesden Green Library, a parallel lending library of selected books paired with sculptures by Brian Griffiths at Cricklewood Library, and a large-scale twisted paper installation by Imran Qureshi at Ealing Road Library.

Soul Refresher, photo courtesy of Thierry Bal

Supported by Art Fund, new commissions by Barby Asante, Adam Farah, Yasmin Nicolas, Dhelia Snoussi and Abbas Zahedi explore personal and collective stories that have shaped Brent’s identity as a place where self-organising is intimately linked to care, community building, and resistance.

Events and artworks will centre on the relevance and connection of histories through performance, conversation and film.

Dawn Mellor, George Michael TV Outside 2020, Photo courtesy of Benedict Johnson.

The programme features ambitious co-commissions with leading arts organisations: Camden Art Centre (Paul Purgas); CREATE London (Pio Abad); LUX (Adam Farah), Studio Voltaire and CREATE London (Dawn Mellor).

Helen Delaney (of Electronic Sheep) outside The Fiddler, Kilburn, Brent © Roy Mehta

2020 Culture Fund artists Helen Delany and Brenda Aherne: Electronic Sheep, Lucy Fine, FOR NOW, Jaykoe, The October Anthropologist, and Jude Wacks will showcase new work and projects.

Additionally, Culture Fund exhibitions and events presented by ActionSpace, AiR, INANIMATORZ and Crisis will take place, highlighting their work with artists and communities in Brent.

Piece by Yasmin Nicholas. Photo courtesy of Thierry Bal.



From 19 Sep 2020

The first permanent public artwork by British artist Dawn Mellor: a large-scale mural that celebrates the life of local hero George Michael, who lived and went to school in Kingsbury.

499 Kingsbury Road

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Until March 2021

Artist Dan Mitchell’s commission takes the form of a large-scale text-based work covering the glass facade of Wembley Public Library housed within the Brent Civic Centre.

Wembley Library

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From 16 Oct 2020

Pio Abad’s murals on the Burton Road and Kilburn High Road depict personal, significant and idiosyncratic objects collected from residents that live in the area.

Kilburn High Road and Burton Road

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Pre-recorded in conversation with artist Yasmin Nicholas and filmmaker and writer Judah Attire. Giving background and context to Yasmin's Brent Biennial commission and expanding on practices and approaches the two filmmakers share.

Online (YouTube)

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Through walks and talks that invite local residents to contribute their stories, artist John Rogers has produced an audio-visual portrait of the local area surrounding Kensal Rise Library, drawing on people's lived experiences and memories.

Kensal Rise Library

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Baristas Under Brexit - The October Anthropologist team present their research into the lives of Southern and Eastern European immigrants who work as baristas in London cafe.

Online event, culminating in a film

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A photography project by Jude Wacks, documenting local businesses around Brent, celebrating the history, entrepreneurship and community contribution of family firms across the borough.

Online (Instagram)

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Declaration of Independence is an ongoing performance/forum by artist Barby Asante, bringing together womxn* to reflect on how the political affects the personal and how the social, cultural implications of historic declarations, policies and legislations Impact on their everyday lives.


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Local artist, designer and fashion lecturer Lucy Fine will present a curated online photography exhibition and book documenting the style of Brent’s vibrant residents.

Online (Via Instagram)

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The Kilburn Tapestries is a knitted tapestry, based on the untold stories of the Irish community living in and around Kilburn, Brent.

Online (Via Instagram)

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Until 31 Jan 2021

New and existing work by artist Carl Gabriel will be presented at Preston Road Library.

Preston Community Library

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YASMIN NICHOLAS: The Children of the Sugar

Until 31 Jan 2021

Part of Brent Biennial, Brent-based artist Yasmin Nicholas has developed new collage works ‘The Children of the Sugar’ centering personal and collective histories that form Brent’s identity. Hear her recite her four poems that her collages bring together.


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Until 4 Jan 2021

The Library at Willesden Green presents two large-scale works by artist Rasheed Araeen responding to its physical spaces and its civic role as a space for research, cultural discourse and exchange

The Library at Willesden Green

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Artist David Blandy has worked with young people from Capital City Academy and Roundwood Youth Centre to reimagine Harlesden 8000 years from now.

Harlesden Library Plus

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n/a - closed to the public

AiR is delighted to be a recipient of the 2020 Culture Fund and will be producing bespoke art projects through collaboration with five Brent schools.

Schools in Brent

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi’s commission sees a series of site-specific installations situated throughout the Library at Ealing Road, bringing his unique visual language to the public spaces of the library.

Ealing Road Library

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Soul Refresher is a new commission by London based artist Abbas Zahedi. Through a process of conversations in Brent with invited collaborators the work will explore connections of identity to place and history.

Across the borough

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Until 31 Jan 2021

‘The Library as Memorial’ is a new commission for Kilburn Library. Taking the form of a book dedication, in which books themselves become a way to mark and remember.

Kilburn Library

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Brent based artist Yasmin Nicholas had developed new collage works, which are presented across the borough in public spaces, as well as a podcast and recital of her four poems.

Displayed on digital billboards, bus stops and posters in launderettes across Brent, as well as online

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Culture Move (Sampled History) is an exhibition by London-based artist Jaykoe. The show explores the history of sampled music in the borough.

The Exhibition Space Brent Museum and Archives in The Library at Willesden Green

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Until 31 Jan 2021

SELF – CONSCIOUS is conceived as a parallel lending library of selected books paired with sculptures, the work explores the potential and limitations of the unreliable narrator.

Cricklewood Library

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3 - 4 October 2020, 11:00 - 17:00

A celebration of local artists creating in the artistic hub of Barham Park. Presented by ActionSpace, ACAVA and Barham Park Library.

Barham Park

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Culture Click 2020 is a bespoke photography based project, tailored to the needs of homeless and vulnerably-housed residents in Brent to promote transferable skills, build social networks and provide opportunities to creatively participate in the Brent 2020 programme.

Harlesden Town Garden

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Until 29 Jan 2021

Co-commissioned with Camden Art Centre, artist and musician Paul Purgas presents an audio-visual installation exploring the sonic experimentations of India’s first electronic music studio, established at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.

Metroland Studios (behind Kilburn Market)

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Willesden Jewish Cemetery has commissioned FOR NOW to create a sound piece as part of the ‘House of Life’ heritage experience, which opened at the cemetery in September.

Willesden Jewish Cemetery

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Until 31 Jan 2021

Inanimatorz will creatively combine art, motion and metaphor to convey ideas and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Brent by collaborating with Brent based artists such as poet Amanda Epe.


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22 Dec 2020

Artist Dhelia Snoussi’s commission will support a collective process of alternative place making that will explore how we might begin to think about our areas through our lived experiences, relationships and connections as the basis of a new map.


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