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 from Indone­sia, will be curat­ed by Aus­tralian cura­tor Natal­ie King.


Tim­or-Leste is the third nation­al pavil­ion King has curat­ed. She pre­sent­ed Tracey Mof­fatt: My Hori­zon for Aus­tralia in 2017 and Yuki Kihara: Par­adise Camp for New Zealand in 2022.


For her lat­est nation­al pavil­ion com­mis­sion, King will present Maria Madeira: Kiss and Don’t Tell. Speak­ing to Ocu­la, King said, There have been numer­ous learn­ings from pre­vi­ous bien­nales, espe­cial­ly the impor­tance of a har­mo­nious and tal­ent­ed team as well as the pri­ma­cy of the rela­tion­ship between artist and curator.’


Madeira’s prac­tice, encom­pass­ing paint­ing, tex­tile, sculp­ture, draw­ing, and instal­la­tion, is informed by Tim­o­rese tra­di­tions and nar­ra­tives as well as the artist’s expe­ri­ences of dis­place­ment and dias­po­ra.

Born in 1969 in the vil­lage of Gleno, Madeira evac­u­at­ed to Por­tu­gal dur­ing the Indone­sian inva­sion in 1976, where she lived in a refugee camp for eight years. She lat­er relo­cat­ed to Aus­tralia with her family.


In addi­tion to her art prac­tice, Madeira has com­mit­ted con­sid­er­able time to teach­ing, research­ing, and speak­ing about Tim­or-Leste’s art and culture.


Women artists’ con­tri­bu­tion to Tim­o­rese tex­tiles, bas­ketry, ceram­ics, and the per­for­mance arts through­out his­to­ry was the focus of her doc­tor­al stud­ies, com­plet­ed in 2019 at Curtin Uni­ver­si­ty in Perth.


The urgency of her tales of matri­lin­eal sur­vival, resis­tance and cul­tur­al activism pay homage to the voice­less women of Tim­or-Leste,’ said King. I am immense­ly proud to be her cura­tor and already feel a deep con­nec­tion to her and her work.‘

Madeira’s own approach to the meet­ing of the tra­di­tion­al and con­tem­po­rary will be pre­sent­ed in Spazio Ravà, over­look­ing the Grand Canal, where she will unveil a new site-spe­cif­ic instal­la­tion made from tais, betel­nut, earth, and pigments.


It is a space that Maria can imbue with her visu­al sto­ries of trau­ma, hope, and heal­ing,’ said King.This will be accom­pa­nied by per­for­mances dur­ing the open­ing days of the Bien­nale, involv­ing the artist kiss­ing the walls with lip­stick while singing Ina Lou, a spir­i­tu­al mourn­ing song sung in the Indige­nous lan­guage Tetun, with oth­er tra­di­tion­al songs from Gleno.

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