For the first time with a solo exhibition, an Indigenous artist - Jeffrey Gibson, of Cherokee and Choctaw origin - will represent the United States at the next Venice Biennale

The artist Jeffrey Gibson, of Cherokee and Choctaw origin, will represent the United States at the next Venice Biennale. This is an absolute first.

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Never before had an Indigenous American been chosen to fill this role with a solo exhibition. 51 years old, originally from Colorado Springs, who also settled in Brooklyn for some time, Gibson belongs to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the only American Indian tribe recognized at a federal level in the state of Mississippi".

And precisely from his personal experience, every day he draws lifeblood to give life to works in which he shapes the most disparate techniques, inviting the public to reflect on very current themes such as identity and history , especially from the Natives' point of view.

“Through my work, I seek to create spaces for dialogue and reflection on issues of belonging and cultural appropriation,” Gibson explained.

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Known for his suspended sculptures in the shape of punching bags but also for his extra-large format canvases with intense colours, the artist will bring a rather fluid path to the Lagoon, capable of overcoming the internal confines of the structure of the pavilion and also involve the external courtyard area.

The project, led by Abigail Winograd, independent curator, and Kathleen Ash-Milby, curator of Native American art at the Portland Art Museum and member of the Navajo Nation, will combine performances and multimedia installations and will take the public on a multi-sensory itinerary with a strong emotional impact.

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“This project will push us to look at the world with new eyes - says Ash-Milby, the first indigenous curator to work on the US pavilion -. Jeffrey's inclusive and collaborative approach has always celebrated the strength and persistence of America's indigenous cultures."

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Alongside the staging at the Giardini, an educational program will then be carried out, organized in collaboration with the Institute of American Indian Arts of Santa Fe and Bard College in New York, which will allow students to American institutions to visit Venice and delve into Indigenous culture thanks to the themes developed by the Cherokee artist.

“The work that will be exhibited - says Winograd - will be a catalyst for positive changes and will offer the prospect of an inclusive future.

This is why we all hope that thanks to the Biennial, the public will receive the message and experience it as a source of joy, optimism and healing. All increasingly fundamental elements in an era profoundly marked by crises and conflicts."

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