Venice Biennale

Australia Council and the Venice Biennale

Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the world’s oldest and most prestigious biennale of international contemporary art. Unique for its dual exhibition model, the Venice Biennale comprises of a curated show and individual exhibitions of ‘national participations’.  It is an important forum for countries to affirm their nation’s artistc and cultural identity.

Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale began in 1954, and since then 36 distinguished contemporary visual artists have exhibited under the Australia banner. Click here to see all the Australian representations at the Venice Biennale. 

The Australia Council proudly owns and manages the Australian Pavilion and Australia’s participation at the Venice Biennale.

Tracey Moffatt will be the sole artist representing Australia at the 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2017. Tracey Moffatt is one of Australia’s most successful artists, both nationally and internationally. Highly regarded for her formal and stylistic experimentation in film, photography and video, her work draws on the history of cinema, art and photography as well as popular culture and her own childhood memories and fantasies.  

The 2017 exhibition will be curated by Natalie King, who is also a widely published arts writer with more than two decades experience in international contemporary art. Her unique cultural footprint has seen her develop expertise and networks across indigenous as well as contemporary arts.

Naomi Milgrom AO is the Commissioner for the Australian representation at the 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2017. Ms Milgrom is an exceptional business leader and entrepreneur with a distinguished record of leadership and philanthropy in the arts, sciences and education.

Click here to read the full media release.

Professional Development Opportunities

The Venice Biennale Professional Development Program provides opportunities for curators, arts writers and arts professionals to develop skills and deepen their arts knowledge and to network and connect with overseas peers, artists and organisations with a view to creating international networks and promoting contemporary Australian art.

Tracey Moffatt will be Australia’s representative at the 2017 Venice Biennale and is the first solo Indigenous artist to represent Australia at Venice. This provides a strong foundation from which to build a deep First Nations focus throughout the Venice project, which in turn has a remit to profile Australian contemporary visual art to a global audience.

The Australia Council will also support a delegation of curators (Senior, Mid-Career and Emerging) as part of the First Nations Curator Exchange Program.

This will provide the opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts curators to participate in the Vernissage activity at the 57th International Art Exhibition and the curators will have the opportunity to participate in elements of the Champions Program and explore the Venice Biennale.

In addition to providing mentoring and leadership to other First Nations curators, the established curators will guide the Champions during the Vernissage, providing an important indigenous perspective of the Exhibition.

After the exploratory period, the participants will have a two day exchange to share practice, ideas and responses with other First Nation curators from Canada and New Zealand at the Biennale.

Emerging First Nations curators participating in the Australia Council’s Professional Development Program will also participate in this exchange.

This builds upon the Australia Council’s tri-nations exchange partnership for First Nations artists and arts mediators with Creative New Zealand and the Canada Council for the Arts held in Queensland in November 2015, in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Triennial 8 (APT8). First Nations curators from the three countries came together to share knowledge, cultural practice and networks, with the second stage of the exchange taking place in New Zealand this year.

In late February 2016, the three nations participated in a two-day exchange of ideas, shared knowledge and networks at the inaugural First Nations arts exchange and skills development ‘boot camp’ program as part of the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in Brisbane.

Current opportunities:

Volunteer Exhibition Attendants for the Tracey Moffatt, Venice Biennale 2017 exhibition curated by Natalie King in the Australian pavilion. There are 14 positions available. 

The Australia Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, diverse cultural and regional communities, including people with disability. Please contact the project team for further information.

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