/ Sunday Arts Magazine / Arts / Elias Redstone

n a jubilant celebration of a new COVID normal Victoria, the inaugural PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography will reanimate the streets and galleries of Melbourne and regional Victoria on 18 February – 7 March 2021.


PHOTO 2021 will be one of the first opportunities for art-and-culture-loving Victorians and interstate visitors to come out and experience a festival in the spectacular and imaginative style for which the state—and the city of Melbourne—are renowned.


A completely brand-new festival, PHOTO 2021 is set to reveal a revolutionary vision of post-COVID possibility for the world of photography, art and culture, in Victoria and around the world. Forging a new path for bringing arts, culture, business and academic sectors together—across Australia and overseas—the festival is already creating a global dialogue about the innovative ways in which artists and audiences can present and engage with photography.


First intended to launch in April of this year, the festival was postponed due to the pandemic. But the delay has only served to make PHOTO 2021’s February 2021 launch a more exciting, more important and more groundbreaking event for a state that has worked hard to keep its citizens safe.


As Australia’s largest and most significant photography festival, PHOTO 2021 has commissioned photographers from across the globe to create new, thought-provoking works that explore the critical relationship between photography and ‘The Truth’. With 40 free outdoor works and 39 free exhibitions— accompanied by events and an extensive online offering—audiences can expect to bask in powerful imagery displayed at outdoor spaces and venues across the city, and beyond.


Over 120 artists will showcase work at over 65 cultural institutions, museums and galleries and outdoor spaces. This will include new commissions and works from artists including Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Sam Contis (USA), Hoda Afshar (Iran/Australia), Brook Andrew (Wiradjuri/Celtic, Australia), Patrick Waterhouse (UK), Daniel Shea (USA), Yvonne Todd (NZ), Hayley Millar-Baker(Gunditjmara, Australia), Atong Atem (South Sudan/Australia) and many more. The city is set to shine with photography, displayed on billboards and large bespoke structures at iconic locations such as, Federation Square, State Library Victoria, the Parliament of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Garden, the Immigration Museum and Argyle Square on Lygon Street, among others.


For the first time ever, the entire expanse of Metro Tunnel hoardings will be dedicated to one festival, as part of the PHOTO 2021 X Metro Tunnel Creative Program, displaying over 500 metres of art comprising of new work from Felicity Hammond (UK), Kenta Cobayashi (Japan), Ann Shelton (New Zealand), James Tylor(Australia), and more, with most works being specifically commissioned to premiere at the Festival.


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