Archie Moore Wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale with 65,000-Year Genealogical Installation

Archie Moore, an Indigenous Australian artist, wins the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2024 Venice Biennale for his monumental installation 'kith and kin,' a powerful exploration of his family's 65,000-year history, celebrating Indigenous resilience and sovereignty.

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Archie Moore Wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale with 65,000-Year Genealogical Installation

Archie Moore Wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale with 65,000-Year Genealogical Installation

Archie Moore, an Indigenous Australian artist, has been awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the 60th Venice Biennale in 2024 for his monumental installation 'kith and kin' at the Australia Pavilion. Moore is the first Australian to secure the top honor.

The artwork features a sprawling genealogical chart spanning 65,000 years, painstakingly hand-drawn in chalk on the walls and ceiling of the pavilion. The installation traces Moore's Kamilaroi and Bigambul family history, highlighting the interconnectedness of people, place, and time. "'kith and kin' is a monumental artwork that spans 65,000 years of Moore's Kamilaroi and Bigambul family history, inscribed on the walls and ceiling of the pavilion," stated the Biennale jury.

The international jury praised 'kith and kin' for its "strong aesthetic, lyricism, and invocation of a shared loss of an occluded past, as well as Moore's inventory of thousands of names that offers a glimmer of the possibility of recovery." The installation bridges the personal and the political, asserting Indigenous sovereignty and celebrating the ongoing vitality of First Nations knowledge systems and kinship.

Why this matters: Archie Moore's historic triumph at the Gold Lion at the Venice Biennale marks a significant milestone in the recognition of Indigenous Australian art on the global stage. The award highlights the power of art to confront complex histories, celebrate resilience, and foster intercultural understanding.

The exhibition, curated by Ellie Buttrose and commissioned by Creative Australia, also includes a reflective pool symbolizing a memorial to the injustices faced by First Nations peoples. Suspended above the pool are over 500 document stacks containing findings of coronial inquests into the deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody. "The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for international audiences to engage with Moore's work, which sheds light on the resilience of First Nations kinship amidst systemic injustices," noted Buttrose.

In his acceptance speech, Moore expressed gratitude for the accolade and spoke about the interconnectedness of all living things through the flow of water. "The work connects all living things on Earth through the flow of water," Moore stated. "It makes me feel honored to be rewarded for my hard work."

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Arts Minister Tony Burke celebrated Moore's achievement, emphasizing that it showcases the power of Australian art and storytelling. The installation will be restaged at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane when the Biennale closes in November 2024, allowing Australian audiences to experience this groundbreaking work firsthand.

Key Takeaways

  • Archie Moore, an Indigenous Australian artist, wins the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.
  • His installation 'kith and kin' traces his Kamilaroi and Bigambul family history over 65,000 years.
  • The jury praised the work's aesthetic, lyricism, and commemoration of an occluded Indigenous past.
  • The exhibition includes a memorial to Indigenous deaths in police custody, fostering intercultural understanding.
  • The installation will be restaged in Brisbane, allowing Australian audiences to experience the groundbreaking work.