ArtReview Talks with Australia Pavilion at 60th Venice Biennale – ‘Art and Abolition’


ArtReview is pleased to present In discussion with kith and kin in partnership with Creative Australia during the 60th Venice Biennale

Watch Session Two: ‘Enacting First Languages’ part one.

Watch Session Two: ‘Enacting First Languages’ part two.

Bringing together leading artists, curators, journalists and writers from across the globe, ‘In discussion with kith and kin’ is a series of panels that invite audiences to engage in greater depth with art’s role in abolition movements and First Nations language maintenance. These themes underpin Archie Moore’s kith and kin presented in the Australia Pavilion, commissioned by Creative Australia and curated by Ellie Buttrose.

18 April 2024, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice

Session One 

IntroductionDjon Mundine
Bundjalung writer and curator Djon Mundine OAM FAHA will provide a short introduction to the day’s proceedings.

Archie Moore and Ellie Buttrose in conversation
Kamilaroi and Bigambul artist Archie Moore provides an insight into kith and kin presented in the Australia Pavilion, with curator Ellie Buttrose. kith and kin is a holographic map of relations that connects life and death, people and places, circular and linear time, everywhere and everywhen to a site for quiet reflection and remembrance.

Art for Abolition
Archie Moore’s kith and kin brings attention to how First Nations Australians are one of the most incarcerated populations globally and the impacts this has on Indigenous families. This panel will discuss how art can highlight carceral practices that disproportionally target First Nations peoples and people of colour and champion the urgent need for law reform.
Lorena Allam (Yuwalaraay and Gamilaraay), Indigenous Affairs Editor for Guardian Australia
Gülsün Karamustafa, Türkiye Pavilion artist
Hank Willis Thomas, artist and co-founder of For Freedoms, a US-based artist-run platform for civic engagement, discourse and direct action
Moderated by Fi Churchman, Editor at ArtReview

Session Two
4:00pm – 5:00pm

Enacting First Languages
In kith and kin, Archie Moore includes terms in his familial Gamilaraay and Bigambul languages and the Aboriginal names of his ancestors. This panel will reflect on how global First Nations practitioners use art to enact Indigenous language maintenance and imprint First Nations words in the present so that they can re-enter common usage.
Dr. heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw Nation), Director of Curatorial Affairs at First Americans Museum, Oklahoma City
Arissana Pataxó, Denilson Baniwa and Gustavo Caboco Wapichana, curators of the Hãhãwpuá (Brazilian) Pavilion
Moderated by Daniel Browning (Bundjalung and Kullilli), Journalist and Editor of Indigenous Radio at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Free and open to all

Archie Moore, Valerie Jean Moore and William Clevin in kith and kin at Australia Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2024, found photograph (graphic design: Žiga Testen and Stuart Geddes). © the artist. Courtesy the artist and The Commercial, Sydney

Archie Moore: kith and kin at the Australia Pavilion

Moore’s exhibition in the Australia Pavilion will be a powerful and poignant exploration of his Kamilaroi, Bigambul, British, and Scottish heritage. Moore is only the second First Nations artist to have a solo presentation in the Australia Pavilion. His work will reflect on the nature and strength of Indigenous kinship, issues of surveillance and incarceration, the enduring impact of colonisation and First Nations language revival.

The guiding principle in kith and kin is that relationality is the root of identity. The exhibition draws upon Moore’s extensive research and unravels how his family history is entwined with the chronicles of the continent and more recently the nation of Australia. By tracing his Kamilaroi and Bigambul family back 65,000+ years, Moore asserts Indigenous sovereignty. Although First Nations peoples have been threatened by invasion, massacre, disease and dispossession, Moore celebrates their continuing vitality. While the stories in kith and kin are often specific to the artist’s family, they mirror the narratives of Indigenous and colonised people throughout the world.

Language is a recurring theme in the artist’s practice. Moore is attentive to the elimination of First Nations Australian languages, acknowledging the pernicious policies and social circumstances that have given rise to this loss. Due to colonial dispossession Moore’s mother knew little of her ancestral languages to pass on to her son. Moore has researched Gamilaraay (the language of the Kamilaroi nation) and Bigambul terms and incorporated them into his artwork. He does this to signpost First Nations language revival movements taking place throughout the world.

The phrase ‘kith and kin’ simply means friends and family but an earlier Old English definition for kith dates from the 1300s and originally meant ‘countrymen’ (kith also meant ‘one’s native land’) and kin: ‘family members’. These words gradually took on the present looser sense: friends and family. Many Indigenous Australians, especially those who grew up on Country, see the land and other living things as part of their kinship system – the land itself can be a mentor, teacher, parent to a child. The sense of belonging involves everyone and everything and First Nations peoples of Australia, which, like most Indigenous cultures, is deeply rooted in our sacred landscape from birth until death. I was interested in the phrase as it aptly describes the artwork in the pavilion, but I was also interested in the Old English meaning of the words as it feels more like a First Nations understanding of attachment to place, people and time.” – Archie Moore

Australia’s history is inextricably linked with the carceral system. British colonisation was established with penal colonies from 1788, and today First Nations peoples in Australia are statistically some of the most incarcerated people globally. kith and kin examines this history via specific examples from Moore’s genealogy: his British and Scottish great-great-grandfather arrived as a convict in 1820; while his Kamilaroi and Bigambul great-uncle was imprisoned in the notorious Boggo Road Gaol. With respect and solemnity, kith and kin will make visible the impact that the incarceration of Indigenous Australians has on familial connections.

“kith and kin physically immerses the audiences in the world of Archie Moore and lays bare how we are all entangled within his web of connections.” – Ellie Buttrose

About Creative Australia
Creative Australia is the Australian Government’s principal arts investment and advisory body. With artists at the heart of what it does, Creative Australia invests in creative talent and stimulates the market for Australian stories to be told on a national and international scale, sharing Australia’s rich culture with the world. Creative Australia’s ethos recognises that art and creativity define us, recording what we have been and what we might yet become. As a nation, creativity should connect and benefit all of its people. Creative Australia is proud of its 50-year history of investing in First Nations arts and culture and supporting First Nations self-determination. Creative Australia will build on this legacy in 2024 when the inaugural First Nations-led board will be appointed.

Creative Australia is for the artist.
Creative Australia is for us all.

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