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Australia's Venice wins the Golden Lion Award for Best Pavilion

Australia's Venice wins the Golden Lion Award for Best Pavilion

The official awards were presented at the opening ceremony of the 60th Venice Biennale, which opened to the public on 20 April. The jury, led by American curator Julia Bryan-Wilson, consisted of four curators: Alia Swastika (Indonesia), Sika Okeke-Akulu (Nigeria), Elena Crippa (Italy) and Maria Inez Rodriguez (France/Colombia). They awarded Australia the Golden Lion Award for Best National Entry, while New Zealand won it for Best Entry at the Joint Mataho International Exhibition.

Aboriginal artist Archie Moore (born 1970) received the Golden Lion for Outstanding National Entry for his installation A close relative, the first Australian to receive the award. Curated by curator Ellie Boutros, the exhibition traces the artist's family history in the form of a monumental family tree. For months, Archie Moore wrote the names of thousands of his ancestors in chalk on the pavilion's black walls. Giardini (“Gardens”), dating back 65,000 generations. In the center, a rectangular plinth floating in a reflecting pool displays stacks of reports of hundreds of tribal deaths while in police custody.

Archie Moore, A close relative (Parents and Children), Australian Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.

© Matteo de Mayda / Biennale di Venezia

The Mataaho Collective won the Golden Lion Award for its participation in the 60th International Art Exhibition organized by Biennale curator Adriano Pedrosa. Founded in Aotearoa in 2012, the New Zealand collective is made up of four Maori women artists: Bridget Reveti, Erina Baker, Sarah Hudson and Terri Te Tau. Their installation, titled Takapau, opens an exhibition space at Arsenal. A light texture woven with strips refers to maternal textile traditions and plays with projected shadows on the walls and floor. “With its womb-shaped cradle, the installation is a cosmology and refuge. Its impressive scale is an engineering feat, made possible only by the team's collective strength and creativity.Greeted the jury at the award ceremony.

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The Silver Lion for Young Participant was awarded to British-born Nigerian artist Karima Ashadu (born 1985). His video Machine Boys The recent ban in Lagos highlights the precarious position of motorcycle taxi drivers.

The jury awarded special mentions to Palestinian artist Samia Halabi (born 1936) and Argentinian artist La Zola Poplade (born 1989) for their participation in the main exhibition. Another special mention was given to the Republic of Kosovo for the installation The echoing silence of metal and leather Artist Torundina Castrati (born 1991).

Italian-Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino (born 1942) and Turkish artist Nil Yalter (born 1938) also took the stage to receive Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement, announced last November.

The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale, which runs until November 24, 2024, opened its doors in a tense atmosphere. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists demonstrated on Wednesday, April 17, demanding the complete closure of the Israeli pavilion. The building's door has been locked since April 16, when the artist Ruth Batir (born 1984), representative of Israel, refused to open her exhibition to the public.“The cease-fire agreement and the release of hostages will not end”.

The Australian Pavilion at the Giardini of the Venice Biennale © Photo Ludovic Sanejouand, 2017

The Australian Pavilion at the Giardini of the Venice Biennale.

© Photo by Ludovic Sanejouand LeJournaldesArts.fr2017