Maria Madeira: Kiss and Don’t Tell

Maria Madeira is the artist to represent Timor-Leste at the 60th International Venice Biennale taking place from April 20 to November 24, 2024. Timor-Leste’s inaugural pavilion coincides with the 25th anniversary of the independence of Timor-Leste. The Timor-Leste Pavilion is commissioned by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and curated by Professor Natalie King OAM.

Madeira is one of Timor-Leste’s most significant contemporary visual artists working internationally, yet her practice is deeply embedded in local traditions, concerns and histories. For the Venice Biennale, Madeira presents Kiss and Don’t Tell, a new site-specific installation utilising local materials such as tais (traditional textile), betelnut, earth and pigments. Her performative installation draws on the collective memories of her foremothers.

Responding to the Venice Biennale’s overarching theme Stranieri Ovunque—Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, Madeira imbues her work with her lived experience of displacement, having grown up in a refugee camp in Portugal with her mother. Kiss and Don’t Tell melds tenderness and trauma with the intimacy of a kiss. Madeira adeptly binds ancestral influences, traditional crafts with contemporary concerns for the plight of the voiceless.

Source: E-Flux

Image Credits: Maria Madeira, Lips to Kiss and Don’t Tell (Ibun Kulit ba Rei no Labele Koalia)—Study III, 2023. Tais (traditional East Timorese cloth), red earth, glue, sealer on paper, 22 x 29 cm. Photo: Juventino Madeira. Courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Australia.