Australia’s Archie Moore Clinches Golden Lion Award At 60th Venice Biennale

Archie Moore (Australia) receiving the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale courtesy: La Biennale

Archie Moore, a First Nations artist from Australia, has clinched the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best National Participation at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. This is the first time an Australian artist has received this honour.

Moore’s winning work, “kith and kin,” is a deep exploration of his Kamilaroi, Bigambul, and British ancestry, which spans an incredible 65,000 years. Adorned in white chalk on the black walls of the Australia Pavilion, the genealogical chart serves as a poignant response to the power of First Nation Australian history and the impact of colonisation.

The judges hailed Moore’s Pavilion as a “quietly powerful” space where visitors are invited to contemplate the monumental family tree meticulously drawn by the artist. The chart, stretching across the Pavilion’s walls and ceiling, encapsulates millennia of history, prompting viewers to reflect on the fragility of this ancestral archive and the untold stories it holds.

In a memorable turn of events, both of the exhibition’s top prizes were awarded to Indigenous artists, with the Mataaho Collective, comprising four Māori women artists, securing the Golden Lion for the leading curated exhibition.

Moore’s “kith and kin” confronts the harrowing realities of Australia’s colonial past, particularly the over-incarceration of First Nations peoples. Through his artwork, Moore challenges prevailing narratives and offers a First Nations Australian perspective on time, where past, present, and future intersect.

Commissioned by Creative Australia and curated by Ellie Buttrose, the exhibition provides a unique opportunity for international audiences to engage with Moore’s work. It sheds light on the resilience of First Nations kinship amidst systemic injustices.

Australia's Archie Moore Clinches Golden Lion Award At 60th Venice Biennale
Australia’s Archie Moore wins Golden Lion Award At 60th Venice Biennale Photo James Payne © Artlyst

The genealogical chart, hand-drawn with meticulous detail, portrays Moore’s commitment to exploring themes of history and identity. By employing fragile chalk on a blackboard canvas, the artist draws attention to the insufficient dissemination of First Nations histories and the urgent need for greater awareness and understanding.

Central to Moore’s installation is a reflective pool, symbolising a memorial to the injustices faced by First Nations peoples today. Suspended above the pool are hundreds of document stacks containing coronial inquests into the deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody, serving as a reminder of ongoing systemic issues.

The exhibition goes beyond the personal to the political, with Moore’s artwork bridging historical narratives with contemporary understanding. Through a series of panel discussions and talks, the exhibition aims to foster dialogue and awareness around First Nations language maintenance and the role of art in abolition movements.

It is hoped now that the “kith and kin” exhibition will travel to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art(QAGOMA) as part of its 2025-26 program, further amplifying the voices and stories of First Nations Australians on a global stage.

With its insights into the interconnectedness of all peoples and the rich history of First Nations Australian culture, Archie Moore’s “kith and kin” is a positive exploration of the resilience of Indigenous communities worldwide.

Australia's Archie Moore Clinches Golden Lion Award At 60th Venice Biennale
Archie Moore Wins Golden Lion Award At 60th Venice Biennale Photo: James Payne © Artlyst

Archie Moore

Born in 1970 in Toowoomba and currently residing in Redland, Queensland, he is a versatile artist. His work spans various mediums and is about aesthetics and deep conceptual and research-based explorations of personal and national histories. Drawing from his Kamilaroi and Bigambul heritage, Moore delves into themes such as identity, intercultural understanding, racism, and the complexities of belonging, offering a fresh and thought-provoking perspective.

Moore’s oeuvre is characterised by a keen interest in critical aspects of identity, including skin, language, smell, home, genealogy, and flags. This reflects his deep engagement with cultural and individual significance issues. Through his art, he navigates the boundaries between different cultural contexts, interrogating notions of belonging and exclusion in contemporary society.

A highlight in Moore’s career has been his solo exhibition at the Australia Pavilion during the 2024 Venice Biennale, curated by Ellie Buttrose, an esteemed figure in the Australian contemporary art scene. Scheduled to run from April 20 to November 24, 2024, this exhibition offers compelling insight into Moore’s artistic vision and thematic preoccupations.

In 2018, Moore’s work was showcased in a solo exhibition at the Griffith University Art Museum, titled “Archie Moore 1970 – 2018,” curated by GUAM Director Angela Goddard. This retrospective gave audiences a comprehensive overview of Moore’s artistic evolution and thematic explorations.

One of Moore’s notable achievements is the creation of a permanent public artwork titled “United Nations,” commissioned through a collaboration between Sydney Airport and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in 2018. Situated airside at Sydney International Airport T1 Terminal, this installation is a testament to Moore’s ability to engage with public spaces and create thought-provoking interventions.
Moore’s artistic journey began with completing his Bachelor of Visual Arts at Queensland University of Technology in 1998. His talent and dedication were recognised and celebrated when he received the 2018 Creative Industries Faculty Outstanding Alumni Award from Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. This prestigious award acknowledged his significant contributions to the field of visual arts, a testament to his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication.

In 2001, Moore was awarded the prestigious Millennial Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, which allowed him to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. This experience broadened Moore’s artistic horizons and enriched his practice, laying the foundation for his subsequent creative endeavours.

Since 2012, The Commercial has represented Moore, a renowned art gallery for supporting innovative and boundary-pushing contemporary artists. Through this partnership, Moore has continued exploring new avenues of artistic expression and engaging with audiences locally and internationally.

Archie Moore’s significant contribution to the contemporary art landscape comes through a commitment to probing the complexities of identity, history, and culture. His work offers poignant reflections on the human experience in an ever-changing world. As he continues pushing artistic boundaries and challenging societal norms, Moore’s impact on the fine art landscape inspires a new generation of artists and art enthusiasts.

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