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The global commitment to redressing the wrongs of the past inflicted upon First Peoples is often referred to as decolonisation which to me means re-voicing our western cultural institutions. We can hardly do better than immersing audiences in the spectacle of Connection: Songlines from Australia’s First Peoples.

This multi-sensory experience palpitates with the voices of our people in art, song and performance, building on the strength of the National Museum of Australia’s use of cutting-edge technology in the Songlines exhibition.

Connection features stunning artworks including Emily Kame Kngwarreye's Earth's Creation

For this latest venture, the Museum has partnered with Grande Experiences to connect new audiences to our rich collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art presented alongside works from other public, private and corporate collections across the world.

To promote multi-sensory access to Australian Aboriginal art in its diversity, this selection of paintings features the work of young and emerging artists, along with their elders or master artists, drawn for the most part from remote regions of Australia.

Meeting in the digital realm

We took the lead from the voices of the Anangu communities of Central Australia who urged us to go down the digital path with them nearly a decade ago.

To teach the next generation, they realised that they would have to meet them in the digital realm, on their own turf, as the old system of joining the elders on Country was failing them. To remain relevant, and connect with broader audiences, we too had to meet them in that realm. We had to make culture cool.

Curtis Taylor, Martu filmmaker from the Pilbara, Western Australia:

I reckon we just gotta move with the times … Just like the old people, we are dreaming. We have a new dream with technology. We’re using the newest technology with the oldest culture.

Aboriginal culture is primarily transmitted through performance as an embodied knowledge system. And the Connection experience closely approximates this with its performative and cinematic dimensions.

Activating art, land and peoples

Embracing a larger sensory realm, this immersive exhibition is a portal that invites viewers to discover a world of Aboriginal art that goes beyond any single collection or exhibition to also activate a broader view of the land and its peoples.

Grande Experiences’ willingness to partner with an Australian cultural institution enables the Museum to fulfil its promise to be the place where our stories live and come alive.

This is Margo Ngawa Neale's introduction from the Connection official program, published by Grande Experiences, on sale now in the Museum's Online Shop.

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In our collection

Parnngurr RockholeThe Seven Sisters Songline travels from the west to the east across the far western and central deserts. The sisters are pursued by a man, Yurla, who is a shape shifter with transformative powers. Yurla becomes besotted by one of the sisters and pursues them endlessly in order to possess them. Today, this saga is visible in the ...
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