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Canberra Today 5°/6° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Spectacular, multi-sensory experience opens at the museum

The NMA’s Mat Trinca, surrounded by Emily’s art.

IN an spectacular multi-sensory experience, which is likely to push the National Museum of Australia on the global map, “Connection: Song Lines From Australia’s First Peoples” was unveiled to press this morning (June 7).

Standing in the midst of a gallery filled with frozen images from one of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s greatest paintings, museum director Mat Trinca today told assembled media of the uniquely indigenous cultural event opening tomorrow, an immersive adventure which the museum believes is the first time Indigenous art and culture has been given this kind of treatment.

The work of Grande Experiences, the creators and producers of “Van Gogh Alive” the extraordinary 360° surround of moving images from art, nature and dance, is backed by a soundtrack featuring indigenous musicians such as William Barton Yothu Yindi, Gurrumul and Archie Roach. Sometimes there may also be aroma,  touch and  taste, although covid, we heard, makes that harder.

On hand was Bruce Peterson, founder and CEO of Grande Experiences, who coincidentally was born in Canberra.

Peterson spoke of his original inspiration for the multi-sensory experience, which had come to him while he was living in Italy and realised that his kids were getting tired of going to galleries as passive viewers.

Margot Ngawa Neale, the museum’s lead indigenous curator and consultant curator on “Connection,” said she believed that the exhibition would allow a broader spectrum of people to respond to Aboriginal and Torres straits art and culture—a kind of modern “dreaming.”

Aboriginal art specialist, Adam Knight,  one of the curators of the walk-through experience which surrounds viewers with art on the themes of land, water and sky, spoke of the way Aboriginal art had so often been  made by women sitting on the ground and  in this experience, much of  the work was underfoot.

As Neale said, “I never thought I’d be standing on an ‘Emily’.”

After a few words from participating artist Sarrita King, who had flown in from Darwin, it was time for the pictures to spring into motion, allowing media to enjoy the artistic line-up of more than 500.

Connection: Song Lines From Australia’s First Peoples”, National Museum of Australia, June 8 to October 9.

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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