Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung Named Chief Curator of 2025 São Paulo Biennial

ARTnews | Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, one of today’s most closely watched curators, will serve as the chief curator for the 2025 Bienal de São Paulo.

Ndikung is currently the director and chief curator of Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin. Prior to joining HKW last year, Ndikung was the founding director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, which through his leadership became one of city’s most important cultural venues, with a range of artistic programming and a foucs on building community. In 2020, he was awarded the Order of Merit of Berlin for his contributions to Berlin’s art scene through SAVVY, which he founded in 2009.

Ndikung is also active on the biennial circuit. He was curator-at-large for Documenta 14 in 2017, artistic director of sonsbeek20->24 in the Netherlands, and artistic director of the 2019 and 2022 editions of Bamako Encounters in Mali.

Additionally, he curated the 2019 Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and as served on the jury of the 2022 Biennale’s Golden Lion awards. He also holds a PhD in medical biotechnology from Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf/TU Berlin, which precipitated his move from Cameroon to Germany in 1997.

In a statement about his appointment, Ndikung said he was “thrilled, honored and humbled to embark on this journey” of curating the next Bienal de São Paulo. The biennial, he said, “is not only one of the oldest and most important biennials in the world, but as one of the very few free-admission biennials, it has proven in the past 73 years to be a biennial of and for the people.”

He continued, “Despite the challenges that biennials are facing around the world, they still serve as important barometers for measuring the sociopolitical pressures of the world. The Bienal de São Paulo seems to me to be a seismograph that not only records the different tremblements the world is experiencing socioeconomically, geopolitically and environmentally, but these records also give us the possibilities of shaping a more just, humanitarian future for all animate and inanimate beings on this planet. I am not only looking forward to continuing my long-term research in Abya Yala at large and Brazil in particular, but also to connecting my current practices as director, pedagogue and curator across geographies.”

Ndikung was selected by a nine-person committee consisting of several of the foundation’s board members, including president Andrea Pinheiro and past president and ARTnews Top 200 Collector José Olympio da Veiga Pereira.

In a statement, Pinheiro said, “In his curatorial work, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung acts as a driving force that challenges boundaries and contributes to shaping the future of global contemporary art. I am sure that the 36th Bienal de São Paulo will continue to play its provocative role and be attentive to current issues, continuing the developments brought about by our most recent editions.”

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