Maria Madeira | 60TH Inter­na­tion­al Venice Biennale

Kiss and Don’t Tell

20 April – 24 Novem­ber 2024
Tim­or-Leste Pavil­ion at 60th Inter­na­tion­al Venice Biennale

Com­mis­sion­er: Jorge Soares Cristovão
Sec­re­tary of State for Arts and Cul­ture of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Tim­or-Leste
Artist: Dr Maria Madeira
Cura­tor: Pro­fes­sor Natal­ie King OAM
Orga­niz­er: Min­istry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Cul­ture
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Tim­or-Leste
Advi­sors: Anna Schwartz AM, Dr Kim McGrath and Simon Fenby

Maria Madeira rep­re­sents 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. 

Dur­ing the open­ing days of the 60th Venice Bien­nale, Madeira kiss­es the walls with lip­stick mark­ings while singing tra­di­tion­al songs from her vil­lage in the Indige­nous lan­guage Tetun. In par­tic­u­lar, she will sing a haunt­ing Tim­o­rese song Ina Lou, lit­er­al­ly mean­ing Dear Moth­er Earth.” It is a spir­i­tu­al mourn­ing song known from the youngest gen­er­a­tion to the old­est mem­bers of soci­ety with lyrics that refer to the cycle of birth and the jour­ney of life and death.

An act of resis­tance, sur­vival and resilience, Madeira’s cul­tur­al activism pays homage to the women of Tim­or-Leste and the suf­fer­ing of women glob­al­ly. She offers solace and a mur­mur of hope and healing.

Maria Madeira was born in the vil­lage of Gleno in the Ermera region of Tim­or-Leste. The Por­tugese Air Force evac­u­at­ed her from Tim­or in 1976 dur­ing the Indone­sian inva­sion. She spent most of the fol­low­ing eight years in a refugee camp run by the Red Cross on the out­skirts of Lis­bon in Por­tu­gal and migrat­ed with her fam­i­ly to Aus­tralia in August 1983.

Over the years, she obtained sev­er­al aca­d­e­m­ic qual­i­fi­ca­tions. She grad­u­at­ed with a B.A. Fine Arts (Visu­al Arts) Degree from Curtin Uni­ver­si­ty, Perth in 1991. Two years lat­er she received a Grad­u­ate Diplo­ma of Edu­ca­tion (Major in art) from the same uni­ver­si­ty. In 1996, she obtained her sec­ond degree, a B.A. in Polit­i­cal Sci­ence from Mur­doch Uni­ver­si­ty. In 2019, she com­plet­ed a Doc­tor of Phi­los­o­phy in Art from Curtin Uni­ver­si­ty, Australia. 

Between 1996 and 2000, she worked in West­ern Aus­tralia as a high school art teacher, visu­al artist and cul­tur­al advi­sor for sev­er­al arts and cul­tur­al organ­i­sa­tions. Between 2000 – 2004, she returned to Tim­or-Leste to con­tribute to the recov­ery, rebuild­ing and rede­vel­op­ment of Tim­or-Leste, the newest nation in Asia.

Select­ed solo exhi­bi­tions include Flow­ery Talk, Fun­dação Ori­ente, Dili, Tim­or-Leste, 2022 Mana Maria, Chi­ang Mai Uni­ver­si­ty, Thai­land 2022; A Place in the Sun, Fun­dação Ori­ente, Dili, Tim­or-Leste, 2022; Tim­or-Leste: An Artis­tic Per­spec­tive, Uni­ver­si­ty of Col­orado, 2019; Ina Lou (Dear Moth­er Earth), Galeri Cip­ta II, Jakar­ta, 2014; Famil­iar Steps, Fes­ti­val da Luso­fo­nia, Macau, 2011 and Silent Voic­es, Can­nery Arts Cen­tre, Esper­ance, West­ern Aus­tralia, 2007

Select­ed group exhi­bi­tions include Bien­nale Jog­ja XVI Equa­tor #6, Yogyakar­ta Nation­al Muse­um, Indone­sia, 2021; ART­FEM: Women artists 2nd Inter­na­tion­al Bien­ni­al of Macau, Natu­ra Alber­gue SCM, Macau, 2020; Elas­tic (Bor­racha) Mobile Res­i­den­cy, Chan Con­tem­po­rary Art Space, North­ern Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Art and Cross Art Projects, Dar­win Aus­tralia, 2014; Arte Luso­fona Con­tem­po­ranea, Gale­ria Mar­ta Tra­ba, São Paulo, Brazil, 2011 and Pic­tur­ing the Sea, Lawrence Wil­son Art Gallery, Uni­ver­si­ty of West­ern Aus­tralia, 2006

Natal­ie King is an Aus­tralian cura­tor, writer, edi­tor and Pro­fes­sor of Visu­al Arts, Vic­to­ri­an Col­lege of the Arts at the Uni­ver­si­ty if Mel­bourne. Recent projects include Cura­tor of Yuki Kihara: Par­adise Camp, Aotearoa New Zealand, 59th Venice Bien­nale 2022 and Pow­er­house Muse­um, Syd­ney 2023. In 2017, King was Cura­tor and Edi­tor of Tracey Mof­fatt: My Hori­zon, Aus­tralian Pavil­ion, the 57th Venice Bien­nale. She has curat­ed exhi­bi­tions for the Tokyo Pho­tog­ra­phy Muse­um; Sin­ga­pore Art Muse­um; the Nation­al Muse­um of Art, Osa­ka; Nation­al Gallery of Indone­sia, Jakar­ta; the Muse­um of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Syd­ney, among oth­ers. She is Pres­i­dent of AICA-Aus­tralia (Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Art Crit­ics, Paris. In 2020, she was award­ed the Medal of the Order of Aus­tralia (OAM) for ser­vice to the con­tem­po­rary visu­al arts”.

Read more



Roma AmorThe Fall of EmpiresBien­nale of Boni­fa­cio #2 May 10th to Novem­ber 2nd2024De […]

Read More

Oliv­er Beer | His­to­ry: A micro­cos­mic perspective

His­to­ryA micro­cos­mic per­spec­tive May 4th – Decem­ber 7th, 20242021 espa­cio de arteBoni­fa­cio, Cor­si­ca, France World […]

Read More

Angel­i­ca Mesi­ti | Art in Conflict

Art in Con­flict 20 April to 9 June, 2024 Noosa Region­al Gallery Art in Con­flict is […]

Read More

Peter Tyn­dall | thoughts arise / HA HA

thoughts arise / HA HA 11 April to 11 May, 2024 Con­ners Con­ners Gallery Read […]

Read More

Ker­rie Poli­ness | Characters

Char­ac­ters 5 April to 4 May, 2024 Hay­dens Hay­dens is pleased to present Char­ac­ters, a group exhibition […]

Read More

Su san Cohn | Pre­sent­ing the 3rd Engel­horn Jew­ellery Lecture

Ear­rings are for Lis­ten­ing. An Engel­horn Lec­ture at Die Neue Samm­lung3 March 202411amDie […]

Read More

Vivi­enne Shark Lewitt | 18th Ade­laide Bien­ni­al of Aus­tralian Art: Inner Sanctum

18th Ade­laide Bien­ni­al of Aus­tralian Art: Inner Sanc­tum1 March to 2 June, 2024Art Gallery of […]

Read More

Natal­ie King | Cura­tor of the first Tim­or-Leste Pavilion

The first-ever Tim­or-Leste Pavil­ion, which coin­cides with the 25th anniver­sary of the nation’s independence […]

Read More

Maria Madeira | 60TH Inter­na­tion­al Venice Biennale

Kiss and Don’t Tell 20 April – 24 Novem­ber 2024 Tim­or-Leste Pavil­ion at 60th […]

Read More


An exhi­bi­tion in 3 parts Part 2: Mem­o­ries of Under­de­vel­op­ment 16 — 25 Novem­ber 202 […]

Read More

Intro­duc­ing | Grace Dav­en­port Selth | Direc­tor of Anna Schwartz Gallery

Anna Schwartz is excit­ed to announce the appoint­ment of Grace Dav­en­port Selth as Director […]

Read More

Lim­it­ed places avail­able. Peo­ple enter at their own risk and in com­pli­ance with gallery […]

Read More

Amri­ta Hepi | Plan­e­tary Gestures

Plan­e­tary Ges­tures26 Sep­tem­ber – 3 Novem­ber 2023Walk­er Street Gallery and Art Cen­tre Plan­e­tary Ges­tures is an […]

Read More

Daniel von Sturmer | Elec­tric Light (facts/​figures/​haydens)

Elec­tric Light (facts/​figures/​haydens)23 Sep­tem­ber – 7 Octo­ber 2023Hay­dens Gallery Elec­tric light (facts/​figures) con­tin­ues Daniel von Sturmer’s […]

Read More


Beneath the Sur­face, Behind the Scene­Un­til 22 Octo­ber 2023 Hei­de Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, Melbourne […]

Read More


An exhi­bi­tion in 3 parts Part 1: Dirty Blan­ket 28 Sep­tem­ber – 8 Novem­ber 2023 Anna […]

Read More


Audi­tions for an Unwrit­ten Oper­aUn­til 8 Octo­ber 2023 Staatliche Kun­sthalle Baden-Baden The exper­i­men­tal exhi­bi­tion format […]

Read More


While explor­ing the cor­ri­dors of the Coupole at Galeries Lafayette, I was cap­ti­vat­ed by three […]

Read More


Amri­ta Hepi with Vanes­sa Mor­ris Dis­cussing Straight torque, twin series on Banksia, RRR Amri­ta Hepi joins […]

Read More

Vivi­enne Shark LeWitt | Sine Proprio

Sine Pro­prio7 Sep­tem­ber – 10 Decem­ber 2023Castle­maine Art Muse­um The wind blows where it will […]

Read More

The vast and uncom­pro­mis­ing prac­tice of Mike Parr assumes mul­ti­ple forms through a con­fla­tion of draw­ing, print­mak­ing, sculp­ture and performance.

Mike Parr Half Way House, 2021 dual-chan­nel video, 16:9, 4K, colour, sound 3 hours 18 min­utes Per­former: Mike […]

Read More


Jen­ny Wat­son White Horse with Tele­scope, 2012 syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint on rab­bit skin glue primed cot­ton 20 […]

Read More

Lau­ren Brin­cat | Per­for­mances on the Quay

Per­for­mances on the Quay 25 — 27 August 2023The Opera House Podi­umPre­sent­ed by MCA & Sydney […]

Read More

Emi­ly Floyd | Cir­cles of dialogue

Cir­cles of dia­logue 15 August — 5 Novem­ber Latrobe Art Insti­tute This exhi­bi­tion takes as its […]

Read More