The European Nomadic Biennial Manifesta 12 Art Festival Palermo Sicily Italy

The European Nomadic Biennial
Manifesta 12 Art Festival Palermo Sicily Italy

Opening Dates and Times
Biennial Dates

6.06.18 – 04.11.18

Regular Opening Hours

Manifesta 12 venues are open

Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

With the exception of:

Chiesa di Santa Maria dello Spasimo (Tuesday – Sunday, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm) and Volpe Astuta (Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 6.00 pm).

Buy your tickets here:

Manifesta 1, 1996

Manifesta 3, 2000

Manifesta 5, 2004

Manifesta 7, 2008

Manifesta 7, 2008
About the biennial
Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, changes its location every two years – Rotterdam (1996), Luxembourg (1998), Ljubljana(2000), Frankfurt (2002), San Sebastian (2004), Nicosia (2006 – cancelled), Trentino-South Tyrol (2008), Murcia in dialogue with northern Africa (2010), Limburg (2012), St. Petersburg (2014) and Zurich (2016). The upcoming editions will take place in Palermo (2018) and Marseille (2020).

Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography. This includes innovations in curatorial practices, exhibition models and education. Each Manifesta biennial aims to investigate and reflect on emerging developments in contemporary art, set within a European context. In doing so, we present local, national and international audiences with new aspects and forms of artistic expression.

Each Manifesta comprises a range of activities extending over a period of two or more years. This incorporates publications, meetings, discussions and seminars (the so-called ‘Coffee Breaks’), staged in diverse locations throughout Europe and in the neighbouring regions, culminating in the final three-month long exhibition (or in 2006, an ‘art school’) in the host city or region. In this way, Manifesta aims to create a keen and workable interface between prevailing international artistic and intellectual debates, paying attention to the specific qualities and idiosyncrasies of a given location.

Inherent to Manifesta’s nomadic character is the desire to explore the psychological and geographical territory of Europe, referring both to border-lines and concepts. This process aims to establish closer dialogue between particular cultural and artistic situations and the broader, international fields of contemporary art, theory and politics in a changing society. Manifesta has a pan-European vocation and at each edition, it has successfully presented artists, curators, young professionals and trainees from as many as 40 different countries. With the expansion of the European community from 12 to 28 countries, and with the possible target of around 30 nations in the foreseeable future, Manifesta also realizes the importance of creating links with Europe’s neighbours in Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa. At the same time, it continues to focus on minority groups and cultures within Europe itself. Therefore Manifesta looks forward to expanding its network and building creative partnerships with organizations, curators, art professionals and independent figureheads in Europe and beyond, drafting an interlocking map of contemporary art.

Manifesta 12
The City of Palermo, Italy is the host city of Manifesta 12 in 2018

Manifesta 12 will open on the evening of 16 June 2018 and run until 4 November 2018. TV & Radio Press Previews are on 14 June 2018. VIP, professional, and international press previews are on 15 and 16 June 2018.

Visit Manifesta 12 website to stay up to date with the latest news of Manifesta 12 Palermo.


Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, originated in the early nineties in response to the political, economic and social changes following the end of the Cold War and the subsequent steps towards European integration. Since then, Manifesta has developed into a travelling platform that focuses on the dialogue between art and society in Europe. Manifesta is a project based on community: its success depends on the collaboration between the international and local actors and the involvement and engagement of the local communities.

The City of Palermo was important for Manifesta’s selection board for its representation of two important themes that identify contemporary Europe: migration and climate changes and how these issues impact our cities. The multi-layered and deeply condensed history of Palermo – being occupied by almost every European civilization and having long-term connections with Northern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean over the last 2000 years – has left its traces throughout this multi-cultural society at the heart of the Mediterranean area.

“Manifesta 12 in Palermo is a great challenge to rethink how far cultural interventions can play a role in helping re-shaping one of the most iconic Mediterranean crossroads in our history as part of a long term transformation process. Manifesta 12 will raise questions such as: “Who owns the city of Palermo?” and “how to claim back the city?“ The city’s migration problems are symbolic of the far wider crisis situation which the whole of Europe is facing right now.”

Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Director

“Manifesta 12 in Palermo in 2018 will be a fantastic opportunity for the city to reinvigorate its local and international identity. It is a moment for Europe to appreciate the significance of its Mediterranean dimension and identity: Palermo brings Manifesta to the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean to Europe. Manifesta 12 is an opportunity to celebrate Palermo for what it really is: a laboratory for the humanities, arts and culture. The city will be able to renew itself and pave a way for its future.”

Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo

Manifesta 12’s main ambition is to work in a truly interdisciplinary way with local communities in order to rethink the basic architectural, urban, economic, social and cultural structures of the city. Manifesta 12 can investigate how great the role of cultural intervention can be in allowing the Palermitani citizens to take back ownership of their city. Manifesta 12 in Palermo can act as a grass-root incubator supporting the local communities with cultural interventions: this will help to rethink the city in their socio-economical and cultural structures and will use the existing informal profile of the city to act as a platform for social change.

The upcoming pre-biennial program will start in building the process for a sustainable theoretical framework and will set out the parameters of the city’s revitalisation process. In this phase, Manifesta would like to activate the communities of Palermo in the identification of its mission statement and objectives, as well as the challenges, expectations and outcomes of Manifesta 12.

Candidacy & Selection