Brazilian Pavilion Awarded Golden Lion At 18th Venice International Architecture Exhibition

Venice Credit: Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares, curators of the Brazilian Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition. Photo: Jacopo Salvi, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo has announce at Ca’ Giustinian in Venice, that the Brazilian Pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion for best National Participation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. This marks the first time this internationally renowned award has been given to the Brazilian Pavilion. The Golden Lion distinguishes the exhibition Terra, which Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares curate.

The curators, with representatives from the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, commissioner of the exhibition, received the award at the official opening of the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in Venice. On receiving the award, the curators Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares said:

“We are very happy to have received this opportunity, inspired by Lesley Lokko, to present Brazil as a diasporic territory with great ancestral contributions by the Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous communities. We believe that those are the technologies that must form part of the solutions to create a different and more egalitarian future for humanity and to restore and protect our natural world.”

For José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, President of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and commissioner of the Brazilian Pavilion, “it is a great honour to have organized this exhibition with curators Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares, who Fundação Bienal de São Paulo invited due to their impactful work with Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous cultures, which is now internationally recognized by the Biennale di Venezia. Congratulations to the curators and all the different projects and communities represented in Terra!”

The Minister of Culture, Margareth Menezes, who was present at the opening ceremony of the Brazilian Pavilion, says: “We are very happy with this award that repositions Brazil in the international architectural scene with the exhibition Terra, a show that brings the Biennale di Venezia the origins of our country. Congratulations to curators Gabriela de Matos, Paulo Tavares, and everyone who worked with our pavilion. And congratulations to Brazil! Long live Brazilian culture!”

The members decided to award the Golden Lion to the international jury of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition:

1. The Italian architect and Curator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (president)
2. The Palestinian architect and Curator, Nora Akawi
3. The American director and Curator of The Studio Museum di Harlem, Thelma Golden
4. The South African founder and co-editor of Cityscapes Magazine, Tau Tavengwa
5. The Polish Izabela Wieczorek, architect in Spain and a researcher and educator based in London
The jury is appointed by the Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia upon recommendation by Lesley Lokko, the Curator of the 18th Exhibition titled The Laboratory of the Future.

According to the jury, the “Golden Lion for Best National Participation [was awarded] to Brazil for a research exhibition and architectural intervention that centres indigenous and black populations’ philosophies and imaginaries towards modes of reparation”.

The Venice International Architecture Exhibition, commonly known as the Venice Biennale Architettura, is one of the most prominent events in the field of architecture. It takes place every two years in Venice, Italy, and showcases the latest trends, innovations, and ideas in contemporary architecture.

The Venice Architecture Biennale provides a platform for architects, designers, and artists from around the world to exhibit their work and engage in critical discussions about architecture’s role in society. The event features national pavilions representing different countries, each presenting curated exhibitions that explore specific themes or concepts related to architecture. These pavilions are located in the Giardini, an area in Venice’s eastern part, as well as in the Arsenale, a former shipyard.

In addition to the national pavilions, the Biennale includes a central exhibition curated by the event’s director, who selects an overarching theme for the edition. This theme serves as a framework for exploring various aspects of architecture, urbanism, and the built environment. The exhibition often includes installations, models, photographs, drawings, and multimedia presentations.

The Venice International Architecture Exhibition attracts a diverse audience, including professionals, academics, students, and architecture enthusiasts. It offers an opportunity for networking, knowledge sharing, and reflection on the challenges and possibilities in contemporary architecture. The event’s influence extends beyond its duration, as the showcased ideas and discussions often have an impact on the architectural discourse and practice for years to come.

Top Photo: Credit: Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares, curators of the Brazilian Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition. Photo: Jacopo Salvi, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

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