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Archie Moore presents kith and kin at the Australia Pavilion for the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia

Creative Australia 8 mins read
Archie Moore / kith and kin 2024 / Australia Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2024 / Photographer Andrea Rossetti / u00a9 the artist / Images courtesy of the artist and The Commercial

 

  • Archie Moore transforms the Australia Pavilion with a vast hand-drawn genealogical chart, his First Nations connections span more than 2,400 generations and 65,000 years.
  • kith and kin confronts the ongoing legacies of Australia’s colonial history, with a focus on the overincarceration of First Nations peoples.
  • Central to the presentation is a First Nations Australian understanding of time, in which past, present and future coexist.
  • kith and kin represents the expansiveness of First Nations Australian history, whilst speaking to the universality of the human family.
     

‘kith and kin is a memorial dedicated to every living thing that has ever lived,

it is a space for quiet reflection on the past, the present and the future

- Archie Moore

 

kith and kin; an enveloping artwork created in situ by First Nations artist Archie Moore, premieres at the Australia Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by Creative Australia, the exhibition is curated by Ellie Buttrose and is on view from 20 April – 24 November 2024.

 

In kith and kin, Moore transforms the Australia Pavilion with an expansive, genealogical chart spanning 65,000+ years. Drawing on his Kamilaroi, Bigambul, British and Scottish heritage, the installation embodies Moore's enduring exploration of history and identity, central themes in his artistic practice spanning over 30 years. His work brings international awareness to the vitality of First Nations kinship, in spite of facing systemic injustices since British invasion in 1770. kith and kin provides audiences with the first significant opportunity to experience a solo exhibition of Moore’s art outside of Australia.

Hand-drawn in white chalk, the genealogical chart unfolds across the Pavilion’s five-metre-high black walls that run 60 meters in length, illustrating Moore’s lineage stretching back more than 2,400 generations. Derived from the artist’s research with family, community and archivists, this intricate map of relations reflects the unique familial structures of First Nations Australians that includes all living things and affirms their status as some of the longest-continuous living cultures in the world. Extending across the Pavilion's black ceiling, the inscribed names resemble a celestial map; evoking the ancestors’ resting place. In the First Nations Australian understanding of time; the past, present and future are co-present. By placing tens of thousands of years of kin on a single continuum, Moore makes this notion visible to audiences.

The chart is also a stark representation of the decline in First Nations Australian languages and dialects under colonisation. Over 254 years the numbers have plummeted from as many as 700 to around 160, due to prohibitions on First language use, land dispossession and the killing of kin in colonial warfare. Countering this, Moore enacts language maintenance through his use of Gamilaraay (the Kamilaroi nation's language) and Bigambul kinship terms. kith and kin illustrates the shift from Indigenous to European languages, the translation of oral languages to written text, and the introduction of racial categories and slurs. Moments of erasure amidst the names represent the atrocities inflicted upon First Nations communities, such as massacres, the introduction of diseases and destruction of knowledge that have all produced intergenerational trauma. In response, Moore’s choice of educational materials — fragile chalk on blackboard — addresses the insufficient dissemination of First Nations histories.

A reflective pool, at the centre of the Pavilion, evokes the atmosphere of a memorial and pays tribute to the injustices still faced by First Nations peoples today. Suspended above it are more than 500 document stacks containing mainly coronial inquests on the deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody dated in our lifetime. Despite First Nations Australians being just 3.8% of Australia's population, they account for 33% of its prison population, making them among the most incarcerated people globally. Surrounded by the limitless family tree, viewers are reminded that the reports do not represent nameless statistics; rather, they are children, siblings, cousins, parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and great-grandparents.

 

Moore’s artwork bridges the personal and the political. Amid the contemporary coroners’ reports are historic documents with specific references to the artist’s family. These include a court conviction from when Moore’s great uncle accidentally killed his father during a fight over their paltry wages; and reports by the Protector of Aboriginals denying Moore’s grandparents access to rights that non-Indigenous citizens enjoyed — such as freedom of movement. These bureaucratic papers evidence how pernicious laws and government policies have long been imposed upon First Nations peoples, emphasising the connection between the current incarceration epidemic and historic injustices. 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.

 

Bringing together leading artists, curators, and writers on Thursday 18 April at Fondazione Querini Stampalia, 'In discussion with kith and kin' is a series of panel discussions that invite audiences to engage in greater depth with the themes that underpin Moore’s Australia Pavilion; First Nations language maintenance and art's role in abolition movements. These conversations are presented by Creative Australia in partnership with ArtReview and Fondazione Querini Stampalia and feature: kith and kin artist Archie Moore and curator Ellie Buttrose; First Nations Australian writers Daniel Browning, Djon Mundine OAM, and Lorena Allam; curators of the Hãhãwpuá (Brazilian) Pavilion, Arissana Pataxó, Denilson Baniwa, and Gustavo Caboco Wapichana; artist Hank Willis Thomas; heather ahtone, Director of Curatorial Affairs, First Americans Museum; and Türkiye Pavilion artist Gülsün Karamustafa.

 

Ellie Buttrose said: "The names of thousands upon thousands of Archie's Kamilaroi and Bigambul forebears engulf the Australia Pavilion, declaring the artist's sovereignty and that of his people. kith and kin reaches so far back into time that it includes the common ancestors of every human and all living entities — a timely reminder that we all have kinship responsibilities to one another. The simultaneity of past, present and future underpins the First Nations Australian understanding of time. By placing 65,000+ years of family on a single continuum, kith and kin immerses audiences in the co-presence of the ancestors and co-existence of time — by doing so Archie generously enfolds each of us into the everywhen."

 

Creative Australia Executive Director First Nations Arts and Culture Franchesca Cubillo said: “Archie Moore’s exhibition at the Australia Pavilion showcases the depth and resilience of First Nations arts and continuing culture. kith and kin offers profound insights into the interconnectedness of all peoples, underpinned by the rich tapestry of First Nations Australian culture. It is vital that these stories and the act of First Nations truth-telling can take place at such an important global platform. In this spirit, alongside the exhibition, there will be a program of talks expanding upon Archie Moore’s exhibition held in partnership with ArtReview at Fondazione Querini Stampalia. We hope these vital conversations led by First Nations Australian voices and internationally significant curators and artists increase global awareness and foster action for the issues facing First Nations Australians."

Following the exhibition in the Australia Pavilion, the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) plans to present kith and kin as part of its 2025-26 program.

 

The kith and kin exhibition has been developed by the artist and curator with exhibition design consultant Kevin O’Brien and exhibition digital designer Sebastian Adams.

  

The kith and kin publication features entries by the artist, sharing childhood memories of family; and acclaimed writer Melissa Lucashenko; along with new essays by distinguished curator and writer Djon Mundine OAM; Professor, legal expert, and writer Larissa Behrendt OA; Professor Macarena Gómez-Barris; and kith and kin curator Ellie Buttrose. The book includes a roundtable discussion with the artist, curator, Dhangatti and Gumbayngirr speaker and Indigenous language expert Doctor Raymond Kelly, linguistics professor Felicity Meakins, anthropologist Emeritus Professor Diane Bell and Bundjalung editor Grace Lucas-Pennington. The graphic design work is by Stuart Geddes and Žiga Testen and it is edited by Archie Moore, Ellie Buttrose and Grace Lucas-Pennington.

 

The kith and kin website hosts videos discussing the exhibition and Moore’s wider practice that feature the artist, curator; curator and writer Djon Mundine OAM; Creative Australia Executive Director, First Nations Arts and Culture, Franchesca Cubillo; professor, broadcaster, and writer, Larissa Behrendt AO; Director of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, Stephanie Rosenthal; and Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia, Tina Baum. It also includes educational activities responding to the artwork conceived by Emma Hicks and Merindah Funnell and features Gamiliaraay translations by Donna Mclaren. The graphic design work is by Stuart Geddes and Žiga Testen with Jake Bonin.

 

-ends-

 

Notes to Editors

 

Exhibition details

Australia Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia

 

Address:

Australia Pavilion, Giardini di Castello 30122

 

Vernissage dates:  

17 – 19 April 2024

 

Australia Pavilion press preview:

4pm on 17 April 2024  

 

Exhibition dates:

20 April – 24 November 2024

 

kithandkin.me

@kithandkin_2024

@ausatvenice

 

Artwork credit line:

kith and kin 2024

Ink on polyester, water, composite board, paint, aluminium, steel, pigment and clay crayon, methyl acetate

499.8 x 1588 x 1498cm

Artwork courtesy of the artist and The Commercial

 

Photo credits:

Archie Moore / kith and kin 2024 / Australia Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2024 / Photographer Andrea Rossetti / © the artist / Images courtesy of the artist and The Commercial

 

Press images: here (via dropbox)

 

For international media enquiries, please contact:

Rel Hayman | Pelham Communications

t: +44 (0)20 8969 3959

e: rel@pelhamcommunications.com

 

Phoebe Dunfoy | Pelham Communications

t: +44 (0)20 8969 3959

e: phoebe.d@pelhamcommunications.com

 

For media enquiries within Australia and New Zealand, please contact:

Claire Martin | Articulate

t: +61 (0) 414 437 588

e: claire@articulatepr.com.au

 

Jasmine Hersee | Articulate

t: +61 (0) 451 087 196

e: jasmine@articulatepr.com.au  

 

About the Artist: Archie Moore

 

Kamilaroi/Bigambul artist Archie Moore (b. 1970, Toowoomba) works across media in conceptual, research-based portrayals of self and national histories. His ongoing interests include key signifiers of identity (skin, language, smell, home, genealogy, flags), the borders of intercultural understanding and misunderstanding and the wider concerns of racism.

 

Recent solo exhibitions by Archie include: Pillors of Democracy, 2023, Cairns Art Gallery; Dwelling (Victorian Issue), 2022, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; The Colour Line: Archie Moore & W.E.B. Du Bois, 2021, University of New South Wales Galleries, Sydney; and Archie Moore 1970–2018, 2018, Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane. Significant recent group exhibitions comprise: Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia, 2022, National Gallery of Singapore; Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art, 2022, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; UN/LEARNING AUSTRALIA, 2021, Seoul Museum of Art; Indigenous Art Triennial, 2017, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; The National: New Australian Art, 2017, Carriageworks, Sydney; and Biennale of Sydney, 2016, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. In 2018, Archies United Neytions was permanently installed at Sydney Airports International Terminal.

 

Archies artworks are held in major public collections across Australia including: Artbank; Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; Murray Art Museum Albury; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Newcastle Art Gallery; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane; University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; and University of Sydney; and University of Technology Sydney. His art is also held in the collection of Fondation Opale, Lens, Switzerland.

 

Archie Moore is represented by The Commercial, Sydney.

 

About the Curator: Ellie Buttrose

 

How aesthetic debates inform the political imaginary is the subject of Ellie Buttroses curatorial projects and critical writing.

 

Ellie is a Curator at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. With Katina Davidson, Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, she co-curated Embodied Knowledge, 2022, that featured the centrepiece commission Inert State, 2022, by Archie Moore. Ellie recently curated: Living Patterns, 2023, focused on artists who deploy abstraction as a political as well as formal device; Work, Work, Work, 2019, about the entwinement of civic and artistic labour; and Limitless Horizon: Vertical Perspective, 2017, which rethought the impact of drone vision on contemporary art via the bird’s-eye view paintings of First Nations Australian songlines and the floating perspective in Chinese and Japanese landscape painting traditions. Ellie is a member of the curatorial team for The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, 2024, 2021 and 2018.

 

In 2020, 2019 and 2018, Ellie was a guest curator for the Brisbane International Film Festival; she curated Material Place: Reconsidering Australian Landscapes, 2019, at University of New South Wales Galleries, Sydney, which considered how experiments with artistic media reflect changing attitudes towards the environment; and served on the curatorium for Cosmopolis: Collective Intelligence, 2017, at Centre Pompidou, Paris, that showcased artistic practices centred on knowledge sharing and the development of social fabric.

 

 

About the Commissioner: Creative Australia

Creative Australia is the Australian Government’s principal arts investment and advisory body.

With artists at the heart of what we do, we invest in creative talent and stimulate the market for Australian stories to be told on a national and international scale, sharing our rich culture with the world. We do this because art and creativity define us, recording what we have been and what we might yet become. As a nation, creativity connects us and benefits us all.

We are proud of Creative Australia’s 50-year history of investing in First Nations Arts and Culture and supporting First Nations self-determination. Creative Australia will build on that legacy in 2024 when the inaugural First Nations-led Board will be appointed.

Creative Australia is for the artist.

Creative Australia is for us all.

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