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10 March 2022

Grande Experiences, creators and producers of Van Gogh Alive, partner with the National Museum to bring a new digital experience to Canberra

Connection: Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples in a spectacular immersive experience is a unique cultural event, taking visitors on a journey of discovery across Australia, through sky, land and water Country. It brings to life the stories, art and culture of Australia’s First Peoples through multi-sensory projections and dynamic immersion.

A breathtaking production, Connection uses cutting-edge light and sound technology to transform original artworks from First Nations artists – including Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Albert Namatjira, Tommy Watson, Gabriella Possum, Anna Pitjara and Lin Onus – into a powerfully rich and interactive celebration of Country, culture and community.

A number of artworks drawn from the National Museum’s collection will feature as digital projections in the new experience, alongside artworks from other public, private and corporate collections.

National Museum lead Indigenous curator and guest curator on Connection, Margo Ngawa Neale said, ‘The Museum is known for exploring and sharing First Peoples’ stories globally, for increasing accessibility and for bringing our stories alive. There can be no better way to bring our songlines stories alive than through the awe-inspiring use of sound and light animations of Connection.’

John-Paul Janke, Deputy Chair of the National Museum’s Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) said, ‘Connection has been strongly supported by the National Museum of Australia’s Indigenous Reference Group.

‘This experience is a great example of an exciting conjunction between First Nations' culture and communities and contemporary digital storytelling. This show enables the Museum to share our stories with wider audiences in a new and innovative way.’

Alison Page, designer, film producer and member of the National Museum’s IRG said, ‘As a curatorial partner in this light show, the Museum sees itself as continuing its pioneering role with this ambitious world-first experience that takes our artists and culture to audiences across the world.’

Bruce Peterson, Executive Chairman and Founder of Grande Experiences, said, ‘Visitors will enjoy the unique opportunity to submerge themselves in the art, history, spirit and vibrancy of Australia’s First Nations culture. We could not be more excited and prouder to be partnering with the esteemed National Museum of Australia to bring an exclusive experience of this kind to the nation’s capital.’

Connection was developed and supported by a curatorial advisory panel of experts and leaders in the arts including the National Museum’s lead Indigenous curator and academic Margo Neale, producer, director and arts executive Rhoda Roberts AO, Aboriginal arts specialist Adam Knight, Indigenous photographic artist Wayne Quilliam and Aboriginal designer and film producer Alison Page.

The walk-through experience immerses visitors in the spiritual connections between land, water and sky through a vibrant and multi-sensory symphony of sound, light and colour. Grande Experiences’ state-of-the-art technology will be used to create an interactive exhibition space that will envelope visitors in large-scale, immersive projections and cinematic surround sound.

The artistic line-up of more than 300 images from some 100 artists featured in Connection represents the diversity of Australia’s First Peoples showcasing images from remote, rural and urban areas working in traditional and contemporary art forms across the county. This experience honours the vital contribution that First Nation artists, cultural custodians and knowledge holders make to Australia’s arts and cultural landscape.

For more on Connection and tickets

This digital spectacular opens on 8 June 2022 for a strictly limited season at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

The experience will be presented in the Museum’s spacious Temporary gallery and abide by all government Covid-19 protocols.

Connection: Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples in a spectacular immersive experience is supported through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative.

About the National Museum of Australia

Australia’s stories come alive at the National Museum of Australia on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. The Museum tells the comprehensive story of Australia, from 65,000 years ago to the present day, through compelling objects, ideas, events and displays, focusing on Indigenous histories and cultures, European arrival, and our interaction with the environment. The Museum’s exhibition program brings the world’s cultures to Australia and presents Australia’s history and culture to the world.

About Grande Experiences

Grande Experiences, the creator and producer of Van Gogh Alive, is a world leader in the creation, design, production, promotion and installation of large-scale exhibitions and multi-sensory immersive experiences with broad cultural appeal, along with engaging, entertaining and educational content. From concept to completion, Grande Experiences creates visually and technically stunning masterpieces and presents them around the world. Its experiences have been displayed over 210 times in over 165 cities, in 32 languages, across six continents, enthralling 20 million visitors.

Media contact: Diane Morris | 0436 030 741 or media@nma.gov.au

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