Archie Moore Historic Win at Venice Biennale

Archie Moore is the first Australian artist to win the Golden Lion Award for Best National Participation at the Venice Biennale 2024. He is the second solo First Nations artist to ever present. Australia has been participating in this major international art show, what some call ‘the Olympics of art’, since 1978. Congratulations Archie Moore!

The artist was born in Toowoomba, Queensland and is Kamilaroi/Bigambul. His presentation in Venice ‘kith and kin’ follows 65,000 years of his ‘family tree’ or ancestral lineage hand-drawn on the dark walls of the exhibition space in white chalk. In the centre of the room a table presents records of First Nations deaths, including deaths in police and prison custody, floating over a moat of water. Moore’s exhibition ‘kith and kin’ was curated by Ellie Buttrose.

Archie Moore’s kith and kin at Venice Biennale 2024, Photograph by Andrea Rossetti

Creative Australia, who commissioned ‘kith and kin’ said; ‘The artwork bridges the personal and the political. While many of the stories in kith and kin are specific to the artist’s family, they mirror narratives throughout the world. Through this lens Moore highlights our shared ancestry and humanity: through the interconnectedness of people, place and time.’

It has been praised by judges as both conceptually and visually exceptional, calling it a ‘mournful archive’. They also applauded the installation ‘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.’

Archie Moore, Photograph from Creative Australia

The artist 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.’

You can see ‘kith and kin’ in Venice at the Australia Pavilion, Giardini di Castello until 24 November, 2024.