Vernon Ah Kee

Australian Aborigines: a history of freedom for every population and the barbed wire imposed by the inhabitants of Veneto: Vernon Ah Kee at the Venice Biennale

Playroom (Ludoteca) in Castello - Venezia

53rd Venice Biennale

Pagan religion as a human need expressed through art

di Claudio Simeoni

53rd Venice Biennale: Pagan religion as a human need expressed through art.

Pagan religion.


At the playroom (Ludoteca) in Castello at number 450 (at the end of via [street] Garibaldi) there is Vernon Ah Kee's exhibition remembering the dramatic history of Australian Aborigines.

Australia is represented in the 53rd Venice Biennale International Exhibition of Art by several artists.

Vernon Ah Kee remembers us what happened to the Aborigines, but there's no population on the earth, especially those dominated by christians, that didn't undergo similar vicissitudes. Anyway, the Australian Parliament apologized for the social distruction made by christian during the centuries only a few months ago.

One of the usual behaviours of christian conquerors against the Australian Aborigines was one of the most beloved by the former mayor of Treviso (and now deputy mayor), here in Veneto. That is, to shot to immigrants and maybe even disguised as hares, to make hunters have fun.

And no Venetian judge pursued him for claiming an illegitimate practice!

This is a way to interpret laws that we saw and still see enforced in Veneto Since the "beggars" and women haven't got a name like Gori, Albanese, Taliercio, so they can be pursued with "administrative measures" that are actually terroristic acts, or with violent actions that are represented the barbed wire that imprisons the man in Vernon Ah Kee's artwork. It's a way to say that Bitonci, Cacciari, Zanonato, Gentilini, Tosi aren't to be charged for the terror, but the Aborigines are to blame!

The Veneto like the Australia, but the difference is that in Australia a wind of freedom blows and frees people from the barbed wire; in Veneto the barbed wire is imposed on people, raping the civil society and the Republic Constitution

To shot or pursue by administrative measures (embezzlement of lands, freedom and culture) were usually practices against Aborigines, as was usual to take their children away from them, to make them slaves in christian families and destroy their culture and ability to inhabit the world.

Vernon Ah Kee's performance is centered on the Aborigine represented by a surfboard.

Surfboards represent the millions of anonymous men that were deprived of their future. This privation of future is represented by the barbed wire tying up the surfboards.

This surfboard isn't allowed to surf the waves of life, but it's even hanged to a tree. It's suspended on an empty space. Without supports. Hanged. It represents the Aborigine considered as non-person, hanged on the empty space of a life without identity and so, without rights. This is what the christian owner-god likes: the man who can't claim for justice in front of his sadic, onmipotent will.

Suddenly, during the performance, some shots hit the surfboard: the man in the extermination camps, powerless, like the hare that the mayor of Treviso, Giancarlo Gentilini, offered to his hunters.

Inside christian savagery all populations' histories are similar. Christian savagery always tended to turn people into slaves, in the name and on behalf of its owner-god. For the "glory of the owner-god" populations have been slaughtered.

Every christian saint became a saint because he worked for the glory of the owner-god even when he was slaughtering men and populations. Since their origin, christians sanctified the slavery.

A slavery that had to be complete and from which there was no way out but becoming a "vicar of the owner-god" and so perpetuating slavery inside the civil society.

A slavery that was exerted in the name and on behalf of their owner-god who decided who had to be a slave and who had to be the owner. A slavery that still existed in democratic societies.

Those societies that came into existence after the Human Beings, rising against the slavery imposed by the owner-god, began a process of social changing, after they had cut off the head of the owner-god's vicar personified by the king of France. This slavery is always renewed by those judges who interpret the laws and the right in order to save those who want to shot to the "hares", denying that these "hares" are subject of the Costitutional right.

Anyway, when will those "hares" claim for justice?

On the 11th June 2009 on Italian newspapers this piece of news appeared:

"Two local policemen were investigating under the charge of kidnapping and private violence for having detained a Romenian woman - arrested on the base of the bylaw against begging signed last fall by the mayor Bruni having picked her up on the police car and having left her, in the snow on the top of the hill in Civiglio, when the temperature - it was winter - was below 0. Before leaving her, they also made her take off her shoes and threw them in a precipice, obviously covered with snow. This episode dates back to the 3rd January, two days after one of the many snowfalls in a winter that has been one of the most severe and snowy in Como for many years. The woman, a more-than-sixty-year-old lady usually attending the crossroads with traffic light in the city, after being left on the mountains had to go back to the city on foot."

This woman didn't have the right of drawing up a report. So people are turned into slaves, like the surfboard, wrapped in the barbed wire to prevent them from being subjects of Costitutional right. While in Australia the acknowledgement of violences suffered by the Aborigines is an attempt to recover a past that has been denied and outraged, in Italy the barbed wire is wrapped around citizens today, by the constant and systematic denial of their being citizens and of the duties that state institutions have towards them.

Like the nazi extermination camps began with the violence against those who were considered marginalized persons and therefore without rights, so, while in Australia the surfboards are going back to the waves, in Italy they are still wrapped up in barbed wire.



On this page, two videos are presented:

1) Vernon Ah Kee: aborigens, Australia, freedom; (the same for Veneto and Italy)

2) Ken Yonetani: sensations of coral reef and the silence of reason;


Scarica Flash Player per vedere i video.

The Australian pavilion, where Vernon Ah Kee's exhibition is set, is in the playroom (Ludoteca) at Castello 450, and there are also other exhibitions. I found very fascinating Ken Yonetani with his "coral reef" shrouded in a soft and waving blue light that brings the visitor outside the human time to the "time of Nature". The visitor can enjoy a feeling of suspension in this room. There are also the artworks by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro which describe the "Engulf and Devour" process by the culture that tends to massificate and take away every individual meaning from artworks.

I'm not going to talk about Shaun Gladwell. His exhibition isn't free and I'm not going to pay any ticket.

Marghera, 29 June 2009


Italian version: Vernon Ah Kee e Ken Yonetani alla 53. Mostra Internazionale d'Arte di Venezia


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