The landmark exhibition will be the first solo show by an Indigenous artist at the prestigious international event.

Filmmaker, photographer and artist Tracey Moffatt has been announced by the Australia Council as the sole artist representing Australia at the 2017 Venice Biennale. She will be the first Aboriginal artist to present a solo exhibition at the illustrious, international event. Moffatt will work with Melbourne-based curator Natalie King to develop the exhibition for the Biennale, to be housed in Australia’s newly completed permanent pavilion, designed by Melbourne architects Denton Corker Marshall and opened earlier this year in May.

Arguably Australia’s most successful living artist, Moffatt first rose to public attention in the late 1980s with her provocative but stunningly crafted photographs, which explored notions of cultural and racial stereotypes and the social tensions that exist between black and white Australians. Her images, inspired by these implacable, deeply rooted cultural concerns, are often shot through with a subtle narrative connection. Their glossy, almost editorial aesthetic create a fascinating juxtaposition of pain and glamour.

The Australian pavilion in Venice

Over 100 solo exhibitions of her photographic work have been held across Europe, the United States and America, and her films, including Nightcries – A Rural Tragedy (1990) and Bedevil (1993) have been screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the National Centre for Photography in Paris.

Art collector and Venice Biennale 2017 Commissioner Naomi Milgrom selected Moffatt for her substantial impact on both the Australian and global art scene. “With a career spanning over 25 years, Tracey is one of Australia’s celebrated and differentiated contemporary artists,” she said.

Moffatt spoke of her excitement at having the opportunity to develop the exhibition with both Milgrom and King. “We three are dead serious about art. Naomi with her collecting and commissioning, Natalie who has worked as a curator for more than half of her life, and as for me, I haven’t really had a life; I’ve only had art.”