Timor-Leste artist Maria Madeira’s potent, political exhibition

Venice Biennale this year welcomes the inaugural pavilion from Timor- Leste, featuring a powerful and poetic work by an esteemed contemporary artist that shines a light on the suffering and bravery of her fellow countrywomen.

Every two years Venice morphs into the centre of the art universe as La Biennale di Venezia takes over the canal city. The biennale, often dubbed the Olympics of the art world, is a showcase of the globe’s best contemporary art, arranged in national pavilions funded by governments and private philanthropy. The VIP vernissage is populated by a who’s who of artists, curators, critics, celebrities and discerning collectors desperate for a first glimpse.

La Biennale di Venezia is a career pinnacle for artists chosen to represent their country. In 2024, the exhibition’s 60th year, it features 330 artists, the vast majority of whom are First Nations people. The theme is “Foreigners Everywhere”, and under the curatorial direction of Adriano Pedrosa, looks to the broader diaspora, focusing on ideas of migration and exile.

Jeffrey Gibson makes history as the first American-Indian queer artist to represent the United States; Ghanaian-born video artist John Akomfrah is representing Great Britain in a nod to that nation’s colonial history, sponsored by Burberry, no less.

The most coveted accolade at the biennale is the Golden Lion. This year, Indigenous artist Archie Moore, only the second First Nations artist to represent Australia, was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation for his beautiful work, kith and kin, curated by Ellie Buttrose. Moore is the first Australian artist ever to win. There was much jubilation.

Source: The Australian by Alison Kubler

View File: Timor-Leste artist Maria Madeira’s potent, political exhibition

Image Credits: From left, curator Natalie King, artist Maria Madeira and gallerist Anna Schwartz at the Timor-Leste pavillion at Venice Biennale. Picture: courtesy Maria Madeira and Anna Schwartz gallery, Cristiano Corte