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
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.