International artists flock to Australia for the 17th edition of the Biennale of Sydney

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Sydney is gearing up to host the 17th edition of Australia's largest and most respected contemporary visual arts event - The Biennale of Sydney.

In 2010 the Biennale of Sydney is based on the curatorial theme of "The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age." The event will highlight recent and new works created by Australian artists alongside leading international artists in iconic locations across the city.

The New South Wales city of Sydney will be embellished with a resplendent array of artworks as its leading cultural institutions, contemporary art spaces and heritage sites are filled with curious contraptions, one-off events and cultural activities; and the sites are ready to be traversed by art lovers from across the globe.

Sydney's Cockatoo Island - once a prison and an industrial powerhouse - will be "filled with art" for the event as more than 50 artists install site-specific works in the island's cavernous structures and open spaces.

Chinese-born, New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang's "exploding series of cars rotating through space" and Australian artist Brook Andrews's large inflatable "Jumping Castle War Memorial" are just two of the installations set to be shown in the unique island context.

The Biennale continues a 37-year-old legacy of celebrating Australia's cultural and ethnic diversity through the exhibition of thought-inspiring and emotive contemporary art.

In 2008 it welcomed more than 436,000 visitors and has since been named the Australian event of the year.

"In 2010, the Biennale celebrates its 37th anniversary, making it the third longest running biennale in the world. We anticipate building on our record attendance from 2008 and expect to welcome more visitors than ever before to this spectacular free event," said Marah Braye, Chief Executive Officer, Biennale of Sydney.

The Biennale of Sydney is free and open to the public. The event will run from May 12 to August 1 across various indoors and outdoors venues in Sydney, Australia.