THE launch of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) took place on Friday night in the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
The month-long festival of contemporary Australian and international photography was launched by the State Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard, who represented the Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley.
BIFB is held every two years and presents two major exhibition programs: the Core Program is a curated exhibition of 20 leading photographic artists, while the Fringe Program is an open-entry presentation by more than 200 artists. Exhibitions are staged in more than 80 venues across Ballarat, including historic buildings, cafes, galleries, and public spaces. Mayor Cr John Philips welcomed the attendees at the launch, including patron Julian Burnside QC. “As Mayor of the City of Ballarat I am delighted to celebrate with you this very important event, as the Ballarat International Foto Biennale notches up ten years showcasing the work of exceptional photographers and providing a forum and nurturing the talents of emerging artists. “This is a very unique event because of the vibrancy and energy it brings in our city is quite amazing and exhilarating. “This year the Ballarat International Foto Biennale marks the spectacular start to Ballarat’s fi rst major Season of the Arts campaign, which will run until November, bringing visitors to Ballarat who are interested in the arts and culture.” Cr Philip’s congratulated the hardworking biennale committee for again bringing the festival back. Mr Burnside QC brought loud laughter from the audience by saying, “It’s a little bit disconcerting speaking after a bloke with the surname of Howard (Member for Buninyong), who looks like Tony Abbott. “I am really glad to be in Ballarat,” he said. “I had the intention of wanting to be a photographer; I think I did a great service to the Arts by deciding to be a lawyer. “It’s encouraging to see so many people here and it’s encouraging that Ballarat has such a thing because it is outstanding quality and it’s seriously important.”