Venice Vernissage Week May 2017. Image credit: John Gollings
Venice Vernissage Week May 2017 [Venice Biennale]

Venice Vernissage Week May 2017
Naomi Milgram AO
Commissioner for Australia at the 2017 Biennale

"Tracey Moffatt's MY HORIZON a roaring success" – Sydney Morning Herald

On Wednesday 10 May, a mammoth crowd celebrated the launch of Tracey Moffatt's MY HORIZON at the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini, as the official Vernissage period commenced for La Biennale di Venezia 2017.

Guests were ushered into the pavilion with a welcome song by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO. Remarks followed by Chair of Australia Council for the Arts, Rupert Myer AO; the Australian Ambassador to Rome, Dr Greg French; myself and Tracey Moffatt with her family who recited a powerful poem by Oodgeroo Noonuccal. George Miller AO officially opened the exhibition with reflections on Tracey's determination and vision while her montage, Vigil, was projected onto the pavilion's exterior.

Crowds filled the pavilion to view Tracey's two photographic series (PASSAGE and BODY REMEMBERS) and two videos (Vigil and The White Ghosts Sailed In). Audiences were eager, elated and moved.

We were thrilled to welcome over 6,164 visitors on our first day – our largest attendance ever!

Our exhibition bag emblazoned with slogans 'Indigenous Rights' and 'Refugee Rights' was hotly sought after and visible across Venice.

I was delighted to see many trustees and colleagues from numerous museums including MoMA, Guggenheim, Serpentine and Tate Modern visiting MY HORIZON as well as officials, including Singapore's Minister for Culture Grace Fu and New Zealand's Governor General HE The Rt. Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy.

At the end of the week experimental feminist performance artist and painter, Carolee Schneemann was awarded the coveted Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Tracey and Natalie attended the awards ceremony, inspired by Schneemann's tenacity and transformative approach to making art.

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