The Lume’s Connection Exhibit Is All About First Nations’ Art and Culture

Two years in the making, The Lume Melbourne’s upcoming immersive experience Connection will showcase the works of some of Australia’s First Nations artists.

Connection will be the largest representation of First Peoples arts and culture ever assembled, with 110 visual and musical artists featured. The exhibit will span 3,000 square meters with projections up to four storeys high to help visitors feel like they are stepping into the works.

They include works from visual artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Tommy Watson, Clifford, Gabriella and Michelle Possum Nungurrayi, Anna Pitjara and Lin Orus, as well as works from emerging artists. The exhibit is set to a score of First Nations music with a soundtrack comprising legends including Yothu Yindi, Archie Roach, Emily Wurramara and Gurrumul.

Lume Melbourne Connection
Image: The Lume Melbourne

Connection holds immense importance for society as it provides a platform to amplify and recognise the artistic excellence and resilience of First Nations peoples,” says The Lume Melbourne’s founder Bruce Peterson.

“By encouraging cultural understanding, appreciation and dialogue among diverse communities, this experience offers an opportunity to challenge stereotype, rectify historical narratives and foster reconciliation.”

Art, music and performance have long been ways to preserve and share First Peoples’ history and culture. They’ve been used to pass down their heritage, traditions and stories from generation to generation. This experience, though, will represent the most comprehensive telling of our country’s story through art and music.

“I see Connection as this beautiful collection of storytellers sharing our culture with the world the way that our ancestors have taught us to do,” says Professor Wayne Quilliam, whose digital storytelling via drone, photography and art is featured in the experience.

Works from Gadigal artist of the Eora Nation, Kate Constantine, are also featured. Constantine, who has 120 commissioned works bound for Paris alone, says she believes a multi-sensory experience is a perfect way for First nations art to be displayed.

Lume Melbourne Connection
Image: The Lume Melbourne

“The technology Connection uses breaks down a lot of barriers to entry,” says Constantine. “A lot of people like Aboriginal art because it is colourful or pretty, but a lot of people are quite challenged by Aboriginal art too, by not knowing or understanding how to interpret it or not feeling like they have permission to be involved. Connection is just so inclusive.”

Connection was produced by Grande Experiences, the owners and operators of The Lume Melbourne and the global touring company responsible for Van Gogh Alive, Monet & Friends and Da Vinci Live. The National Museum of Australia provided curatorial support.

The Lume Melbourne is located within the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and is open daily to visitors. Connection will open on Friday, June 23 with tickets on sale now.

“With Connection, we aim to leave visitors with a profound sense of appreciation and understanding of First Peoples’ art and culture,” says Peterson. “The exhibition seeks to inspire empathy, spark conversations, and encourage active engagement in fostering a more inclusive and culturally rich society.”

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