Manifesta, the roving European biennial, will take place in Barcelona and 10 other metropolitan cities in Catalonia, in the northeast of Spain, for its 2024 edition. In a statement, the biennial’s organizers said the strategy of spreading the edition over multiple cities in Catalonia, a region which has sought independence from Spain since the mid-19th century, “continues focused on how art and culture can fight polarization and division.” Participating cities include L’Hospitalet, Mataró, Sant Cugat, and Granollers.
In a statement, the organizers said: “The bid of Barcelona aligns with the mission of Manifesta, as it seeks to build upon the common objective of involving citizens, different entities and groups, in the common task of rethinking our world through artistic creativity and social commitment.”
Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region home to about 7.5 million people, has been a political flashpoint for years. In October 2017, an independence referendum was declared illegal by a Spanish constitutional court, resulting in a crackdown from Madrid. National police forces deployed heavy force against citizens in an attempt to close polling stations, and the Catalan parliament was subsequently dissolved. Cultural institutions in Catalonia were not exempt from the unrest. In December 2017, demonstrators gathered outside the Lleida Museum to protest the restitution of 44 religious artifacts housed at the institution to the neighboring Spanish region of Aragon.
Manifesta organizers said they are currently in conversation with an as-yet-unspecified German city that will host its 2026 biennial. The biennial’s upcoming edition is currently slated to take place in Prishtina, Kosovo, in 2022.
Earlier this year, Manifesta staged its 13th edition in the French city of Marseille, making it one of the few biennials to move forward with an edition this year. The show was first delayed from June to August, and then it closed prematurely at the end of October in response to new health restrictions. For the remainder of its run, the edition transitioned online.