Archie Moore’s Australian Pavilion wins Venice Biennale’s coveted Golden Lion

Archie Moore of Australia has won the Golden Lion prize for Best National Participation at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Foreigners Everywhere, 20 April-24 November). Moore, a First Nations Artist, is the first Australian to win the award.

In Moore’s work Kith and Kin, the artist has created a genealogical chart—in white chalk on black walls—tracing his Kamilaroi, Bigambul and British ancestry going back 65,000 years. It is both a celebration of First Nation Australian perceptions of lineage and connectivity and a window into deep trauma.

“In this quietly powerful Pavilion, Moore worked for months to hand draw with chalk a monumental First Nations family tree. Thus 65,000 years of history—both recorded and lost—are inscribed on the dark walls as well as on the ceiling, asking viewers to fill in blanks and take in the inherent fragility of this mournful archive,” said the judges in a statement.

Moore said: “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.”

Special mention was given to the Kosovo Pavilion for the installation of The Echoing Silences of Metal and Skin. In the work, the artist Doruntina Kastrati examines the deregulation of the labour market in the aftermath of the 1999 Kosovo War. The piece “resonates in our bones, echoing a larger arena of feminist activism”, said the judges.

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