Performance Group Kairaken Betio; Teroloang Borouea, Neneia Takoikoi, Tineta Timirau, Teeti Aaloa, Kenneth Ioane, Kaumai Kaoma, Runita Rabwaa, Obeta Taia,Tiribo Kobaua, Tamuera Tebebe, Rairauea Rue, Teuea Kabunare, Tokintekai Ekentetake, Katanuti Francis, Mikaere Tebwebwe, Terita Itinikarawa, Kaeua Kobaua, Raatu Tiuteke, Kaeriti Baanga, Ioanna Francis, Temarewe Banaan, Aanamaria Toom, Einako Temewi, Nimei Itinikarawa, Teniteiti Mikaere, Aanibo Bwatanita, Arin Tikiraua. Visual Artist; Daniela Danica Tepes. Performance Group Ngaon Nareau; Teata Tetoki, Raakai Ianibata, Taorobwa Bakatokia, Tekaei Kaairo, Nabiri Kaaraiti, Abetena Itaaka, Bwobwaka Bwebwere.
Pelea Tehumu and Nina Tepes (Institute ERGO SUM), commissioned by Ministry of Internal Affairs, Eera Teakai Baraniko
European Cultural Centre, Palazzo Mora, Strada Nuova 3659, Cannaregio
E Kai Maunanako Te Aba, Te Rikia E Tei N Nene N Aki Kona Ni Bua
Kiribati, a small group of 33 paradise atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is participating to the Art Biennale in Venice for the first time. Their exhibition ‘Ars Longa, Vita Brevis’ (or ‘E Kai Maunanako Te Aba, Te Rikia E Tei N Nene N Aki Kona Ni Bua’ in the Kiribati language) has a dual purpose. The artists and curators want to show their passion for life and art to the world, but they would also like to draw the attention to the ever increasing problem of climate change and the rising sea level.
The exhibition at Palazzo Mora is a joint effort of 35 artists from different generations and branches of art. They will combine typical elements of the Kiribati culture with contemporary art. You can expect to see traditional performances by the Kairaken Betio Group and the Ngaon Nareau Performance Group. Singing and dancing is for them a way to honour life. These performances have been captured on video on one of their beautiful beaches by visual artist Daniela Danica Tepes. As you can see on the pictures, it certainly looks intriguing. These videos will be combined with photography and interactive animation and will give you a feeling of the traditional way of living in Kiribati. I guess many people will want to travel there after their visit to the pavilion.
Unfortunately, due to the effects of global warming and the rising sea level, the mere existence of Kiribati is under threat. The islands are in danger of disappearing into the Pacific Ocean. In recent decades, the tide is flooding more and more homes and other infrastructure and is thereby washing the land into the ocean. The ground water and vegetation gets contaminated from the salty water. Still, there is great optimism among the Kiribati people. They are united in the passion for their culture and customs. This exhibition in Venice allows them to share their message with the visitors of the Art Biennale. Your visit will not only be a reflection on the vulnerable position of the Kiribati culture and art, but it will make you think about the impact of climate change on the whole planet. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you read the article ‘A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas’ by Mike Ives, which was published in the New York Times.
Kiribati was one of the 9 national participations which immediately caught my attention, as you can read in ‘What to expect from the Art Biennale 2017’.
Venice is confronted with the same issue and is also threatened, at the time of acqua alta, by the rising sea level due to climate change. More information on the situation in Venice can be found in my post ‘The love-hate relationship of Venice with water’.
Daniela Danica Tepes
Visual artist Daniela Danica Tepes is known for the illusion of duality because her works are always suggesting that nothing is as it seems at first glance. The visual artist leaves the viewer to develop his own feelings while he is involved in the highly spiritual and parallel virtual world that she has created.
“I absolutely adore Venice. What fascinates me that no matter how many times I have visited the city, I always got lost in the streets. In fact, it does not bother me because I like exploring Venice. Most important is that in the end I always find the way and one experience more.”
Nina Tepes, curator
The pavilion of Kiribati will be located in Palazzo Mora, part of the European Cultural Centre. Palazzo Mora is located in the Strada Nuova in the Cannaregio sestieri, between the San Felice Church and Canal di Noal. The Mora family was one of the most well-known and important families of Venice from 1500 to 1780. They acquired the building in 1716, and expanded it later by adding the adjacent palazzo. The building in front of the garden was used as a public library. The palazzo is now frequently used for exhibitions. If you want to explore the Cannaregio area after your visit to the Kiribati pavilion, you can find some inspiration in my post ‘Cannaregio: A walk along artisans and history’.
Review by The Venice Insider
At their first participation to the Art Biennale, the small pavilion of Kiribati is located inside Palazzo Mora. There are no clear signs in this quite complex building with lots of small corridors and corners, so it took me a while to find it. To help you find it faster, I suggest you take the stairs to the top level, where you can follow the sound of singing to find it. On the screen, you can watch the performances of the local dancers on the beach. I immediately wanted to take a plane to see it in real life. There’s also an interactive installation which lets you appear, and disappear, as a local fighter. It’s certainly fun to play around a bit. I’m not sure if this was intended as such, but it’s a good metaphor for the difficult situation which they have to fight. The message is one of hope, but we all need to take climate change and the impact on people’s lives very seriously.
Katia – The Venice Insider
If you want to know more about the Art Biennale 2017 and the other national participations, this overview page is a good starting point. If you want to be informed about new pavilions being added to the site, you can subscribe to The Venice Insider biweekly newsletter.
(Picture in banner: © Daniela Danica Tepes)
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