Art and music of Australia’s Indigenous grand masters turned into immersive experience

“I am so excited to bring them here because this is art they want to engage in, this is the art that they will no doubt run about in, to delight in … to be able to see and feel the culture rush through their bodies.

“It brings art to the viewer in a way that you can’t help but feel connected,” said King.

The exhibition brings to life Indigenous stories, culture and art. Credit:Rhett Wyman

The show was curated and produced by Grande Experiences, the company started by Canberra born Bruce Peterson, with a team of Indigenous art experts.

Peterson said he had been developing the show for two years.

“I’ve been dealing with the greatest artists that people across the world know, the Leonardo da Vincis, the Van Goghs, the Manets and now the French impressionists,” he said. “But what is close to us as an Australian company is that these are our master artists, and this is a chance for all Australians to see that extraordinary art and culture of First Nations in a way that exposes more people.”

Profits from the National Museum showing of Connection would be returned to the gallery to fund expansion of its Indigenous arts scholarships.

Peterson said on Tuesday that he started the company after discovering that even the great masters of Italy couldn’t keep the attention of children or adults for long.

“My kids would give me a tug on the hip within five minutes to say, ‘This is boring. Can we go now, Dad?’” he said. “I was wandering around the center of world culture, and they were not engaged… Quite a lot of adults were not quite engaging either. ”

The National Museum’s lead Indigenous curator, Margo Ngawa Neale, said there was no better way to bring songlines’ stories alive than through “this awe-inspiring multisensory display”.

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The exhibition’s use of digital technology was more closely aligned with Indigenous culture and art, and ways of knowing and being, than traditional displays of art on gallery walls, she said.

“It isn’t new for us as Aboriginal people to take on and adapt with alacrity to new technologies. It is how we survived for millennia,” said Neale.

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