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  • Writer's pictureJoia Preciosa

Visa refused for some participants of Venice Architecture Biennale


Lesley Lokko



The Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 has been postponed due to COVID-19 .

After years of expectation and preparation The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 will be held on Saturday May 20, 2023.

The 2023 interpretation, themed The Laboratory of the Future, is curated by Ghanaian-Scottish architect and scholar Lesley Lokko.

For the first time since the creation of the architecture event in 1980, the main exhibitions of the Biennale will focus on Africa and the African diaspora.


89 participants will be present at the main exhibition, 63 national pavilions and a full list of ancillary events around Venice.

The controversy surrounding the event is already there. As reported by Building Design and tweeted by reviewer Oliver Wainwright, Lokko encountered difficulties paying attendees and obtaining visas for contributors.

Organizers of this year's African-themed Venice Architecture Biennale fell out with the Italian government just days before the event opened after several Ghanaian participants were denied visas.


Three men who have collaborated for almost two years with the festival's curator, Lesley Lokko, have been refused entry to Italy to attend the exhibition's test visits.


Daniela D'Orlandi, Italy's ambassador to Ghana, told Building Design that the three men did not qualify to enter the European Union's Schengen area.


But event commissioner Lesley Lokko accused d'Orlandi of trying to 'make his mark' with the Italian government, which has been led by the conservative right-wing Brothers of Italy party since last year's general election.


We applied for six visas for them as direct collaborators, as is routine for all collaborators. Accommodation had been found for all of them in Venice, and return tickets to Ghana had already been booked."


Visas have been refused to three of the collaborators, and one of them is still awaiting a response. We are currently in contact with the competent authorities to find a solution. "


In a message shared on Twitter, Lokko claimed d'Orlandi accused her of "trying to bring 'non-essential young men' to Europe".


This year's Biennale, titled The Laboratory of the Future, officially opens its doors to the public on Saturday May 20 and will run until November 26 at the Giardini, Arsenale and Forte Marghera.

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