Seven art shows for your diary in 2022: from Venice Biennale to Desert X AlUla

From biennials to retrospectives, here are the events to keep on your radar this year

Etel Adnan's work 'Landscape', 2014. A show of work by the late Lebanese artist and poet will be on display at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum. Photo: Etel Adnan
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If the last two years are anything to go by, we know that event schedules should come with a caveat – subject to the number of Covid-19 cases around at the time.

For the moment, however, a number of art events, including major biennials and triennials, as well as must-see exhibitions around the world, are sticking to their opening dates and preparing to showcase art and culture to the world in 2022.

Venice Biennale

Two years later, the Venice Biennale 2020 will finally take place from April 23 to November 27. Last year, the major art event in Italy was postponed because of the pandemic.

The title and theme of the next event – The Milk of Dreams – was announced in June 2021. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the title is borrowed from a book by Leonora Carrington and will consider the state of the world today, particularly in terms of the body and its relation to the earth, ecologies and our relationship to technology.

The UAE Pavilion for the 59th Venice Biennale will showcase the work of Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, who is known for his sculptures and paintings that draw inspiration from the natural landscape of his home town Khor Fakkan.

From April 23 to November 27. More information is at

Documenta fifteen

There is much excitement for documenta fifteen, a contemporary art exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany.

This year's event has been curated by the Indonesian collective ruangrupa. The choice of artistic director for the 15th documenta marks a few firsts – the first collective to be at the helm of the event and the first Asians, too.

For the show, the collective has chosen the agricultural concept of “lumbung” (rice barn) as the starting point to consider various ideas about sustainability, collective and community-based practices, in particular artistic practices that depend on knowledge and dissemination.

documenta fifteen takes place from June 18 to September 25. More information is at

Desert X AlUla

Desert X AlUla in Saudi Arabia will return in 2022 with a new location in the kingdom’s historic AlUla region. This year, the site-specific artworks will be installed in the Al Mutadil valley, across the famous Elephant Rock.

The event also has a new curator at the helm, as organisers have tapped Reem Fadda, director of the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, to join Raneem Farsi and Neville Wakefield as part of the curatorial team.

Sarab, Desert X AlUla’s theme for 2022, explores the concepts of mirage and oasis, and considers the ideas linked to desert history and culture.

Desert X AlUla runs from February 11 to March 30. More information on

Kathmandu Triennale

Opening in February, the Kathmandu Triennale for 2022 is themed KT 2077 – and offers an ambitious and forward-looking programme that will incorporate the ideas of decolonisation, indigenous knowledge and displacement while looking beyond the Eurocentric canon.

The event, curated by artistic director Cosmin Costinas along with artists and cultural organisers Sheelasha Rajbhandari and Hit Man Gurung, will be held in three different venues across Nepal’s capital: Patan, Boudha, Kathmandu. More than 100 artists and collaborators from 40 countries are expected to exhibit their works.

From February 11 to March 11. More information is at

Faith Ringgold at the New Museum

The Harlem-born artist Faith Ringgold tells stories of the African-American experience in the US, excavating histories and truths about power and black identity through her rich paintings and quilts.

Opening at the New Museum in New York, Faith Ringgold: American People will present works from six decades, reflecting on significant moments in US history, from the Harlem Renaissance and the fight for civil rights.

From February 17 to June 5. More information is at

Etel Adnan at the Van Gogh Museum

The renowned Lebanese poet and artist Etel Adnan, who died aged 96 in November 2021, was known for her colourful landscapes inspired by California.

This show at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will present the works of Adnan and Van Gogh side by side as a way to consider and compare their styles, particularly their explorations of colour and landscapes.

From May 20 to September 4. More information is at

Donatello: The Renaissance

One of the masters of the Renaissance period, Florentine sculptor Donatello is being celebrated in a survey exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi and Musei del Bargello, both in Florence, in March, before an iteration will travel to Gemaldegalerie in Berlin in September.

In this, the first major exhibition dedicated to the sculptor in almost 40 years, visitors will be able to see Donatello’s important works in bronze and wood, including his most well-known David, made circa 1440.

A version of the show will be presented in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2023.

From March 19 to July 31 in Florence; from September 2 to January 8, 2023, in Berlin. More information is at

Updated: January 09, 2022, 10:25 AM