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Archie Moore’s 'kith and kin' becomes first Australian exhibition to win Golden Lion for Best National Participation at La Biennale de Venezia

Giovanni Torre -

Archie Moore’s exhibition kith and kin at the Australia Pavilion has been awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for Best National Participation at La Biennale de Venezia 2024; the first time in history an Australian artist has received the accolade.  

In kith and kin, curated by Ellie Buttrose and commissioned by Creative Australia, Moore "transforms the Australia Pavilion with an expansive, genealogical chart" spanning 65,000 years.

While many of the stories in kith and kin are specific to the Kamilaroi and Bigambul artist’s family, they mirror narratives throughout the world; telling personal and political stories. Creative Australia said Moore "highlights our shared ancestry and humanity: through the interconnectedness of people, place and time". 

On receiving the award on Saturday, Moore said: "As the water flows through the canals of Venice to the lagoon, then to the Adriatic Sea, it then travels to the oceans and to the rest of the world - enveloping the continent of Australia - connecting us all here on Earth. Aboriginal kinship systems include all living things from the environment in a larger network of relatedness, the land itself can be a mentor or a parent to a child. We are all one and share a responsibility of care to all living things now and into the future."

I am very grateful for this accolade; it makes me feel honoured to be rewarded for the hard work one does. I am grateful to everyone who has always been part of my journey – from my kith to my kin – to my Creative Australia team and everyone else back home and those of the Venice lagoon," he said.

kith and kin. Image: Andrea Rossetti.



The
jury of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia noted:

In this quiet, impactful pavilion, Archie Moore worked for months to hand-draw in chalk a monumental First Nation family tree. Thus 65,000 years of history (both recorded and lost) are inscribed on the dark walls and ceiling, inviting viewers to fill in the blanks and grasp the inherent fragility of this mournful archive. The official documents drawn up by the State float in a moat of water. The result of Moore's intensive research, these documents reflect the high rates of incarceration of First Nations people.  

This installation stands out for its strong aesthetic, its lyricism and its invocation of a shared loss of an occluded past. With his inventory of thousands of names, Moore also offers a glimmer of the possibility of recovery.”

kith and kin. Image: Andrea Rossetti.



Creative Australia Executive Director, First Nations Arts and Culture, Franchesca Cubillo said the agency has been "honoured to commission Archie Moore’s kith and kin".

"For the exhibition to receive this remarkable international recognition has made us all incredibly proud and deeply moved. We congratulate Archie on his historic accolade and celebrate this moment of global recognition of the depth of his artistic expression," she said.

kith and kin is an extraordinary history painting of unprecedented scale. The celestial map of names traces Archie’s Kamilaroi and Bigambul relations over 65,000 years demonstrating the resilience and strength of the First Nations people of Australia. Through this powerful and compelling artwork Archie asserts Indigenous sovereignty and celebrates the ongoing vitality of First Nations knowledge systems and kinship.

kith and kin. Image: Andrea Rossetti.



Buttrose, kith and kin's curator, said
Moore "profoundly affects those who listen".

"
kith and kin enfolds all of us into Archie’s family. To be kin is to carry responsibilities; duties for each other and all living things throughout time. This commendation is a celebration of Archie’s generosity – it is an honour to witness his art," she said.

Federal Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said: When I announced the Government’s support for the new pavilion for the Venice Biennale back in 2013 - we could only hope that one day one of our artists would receive this level of recognitionCongratulations to Archie on this well deserved recognition.” 

kith and kin. Image: Andrea Rossetti.

 

kith and kin. Image: Andrea Rossetti.

 

kith and kin. Image: Andrea Rossetti.

 

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