Arts OutWest’s Aboriginal Arts Development Officer Aleshia Lonsdale was recently invited by the Australia Council for the Arts as one of five creative and cultural workers to spend an intensive three days of professional development at the 59th Venice Biennale.
The five Australian creative and cultural workers spent 4 days with the team at the Nordic Pavilion, which for the first time will be the ‘Sami Pavilion’ a dedicated space for Indigenous art.
The Sámi Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale featured three Sámi artists and established an official space for international Indigenous artists, a project commissioned by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) featuring the Sámi artists Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara and Anders Sunna. This transformation of the Nordic Pavilion celebrates the art and sovereignty of the Indigenous Sámi people, whose nation extends across the Nordic countries and into the Kola Peninsula in Russia.
‘The Sámi Pavilion’ project is curated by a group consisting of Sámi scholar Liisa-Rávná Finbog, OCA’s Director Katya García-Antón and Sámi land guardian Beaska Niillas; curatorial assistants: Liv Brissach, Raisa Porsanger and Martina Petrelli. Following the Sámi custom of learning from elders of the community, the selected artists benefited from the individual guidance of chosen elders Karen Ellen Marie Siri Utsi, Asta Mitkijá Balto and Ánde Somby. In partnership with Sámi University College, the ‘Sámi Pathfinders’ programme brings together students from across Sápmi to act as mediators for ‘The Sámi Pavilion’ project. The ‘Sámi Pathfinders’ guide visitors through the exhibition, offering insights on culture and society from a Sámi perspective.
Australia Council for the Arts re(situate)
Aleshia Lonsdale is Arts OutWest’s full-time Aboriginal Arts Development Officer. She is a Wiradjuri woman and practicing artist from Mudgee. In 2022 Aleshia has been a participant in the Australia Council for the Arts’ ‘re(situate)’ program.
Aleshia is an alumnus of the National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA) Wesfarmers Indigenous Leadership Program. She is also the Chairperson of the Mudgee Local Aboriginal Land Council. This Council focuses on protecting, maintaining and sharing country, cultural heritage and cultural practices within its region. As a multidisciplinary artist, Lonsdale creates works which respond to place, time, cultural values and traditions and contemporary issues of First Nations peoples today.
A diverse group of 19 emerging creative and cultural workers from across Australia have been announced as participants of the Australia Council Biennale Delegates Program. The program’s theme is ‘re(situate)’ and will focus on unpacking different biennale engagement approaches within an Australian and regional context. The participants will connect with artists and teams presenting the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Hawaiʻi Triennial, Documenta 15 and The Biennale of Sydney.
IMAGE: Aleshia Lonsdale, photo by Alex Wisser.