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The Lume's stunning new multi-sensory exhibition is dedicated to First Nations art and music.
By Sarah Ward
June 19, 2023
By Sarah Ward
June 19, 2023

The idea behind The Lume was always a stunner, giving Australia its first permanent digital-only art gallery. When the Melbourne venue started welcoming in patrons in 2021, it lived up to its immersive, multi-sensory promise, initially with a spectacular Van Gogh exhibition that let visitors feel like they were walking right into the artist's work, and then with the French impressionism-focused Monet & Friends Alive. The latest showcase set to grace the site's agenda has those past shows beat, however, heroing First Nations art and music. On display from Friday, June 23, Connection features more than 110 Indigenous visual and musical artists in a dazzling fashion.

At this Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre gallery, the art gracing its walls towers over patrons, with the space filled with large-scale digital pieces. And Connection is full thanks to more than 550 works — digitals and originals alike.

Earning some love: art by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Tommy Watson, Anna Pitjara, Lin Onus, Sarrita King, Kate Constantine, Wayne Qulliam, Clifford, Gabriella and Michelle Possum Nungurrayi, and many more, in a walk-through exhibition that presents its pieces through the themes of land, water and sky Country. Their work is scored a soundtrack by Yothu Yindi, Archie Roach, Emily Wurramara, Gurrumul, Alice Skye, Baker Boy and others, plus composers such as William Barton.

Grande Experiences, the company behind The Lume and its touring exhibitions — Van Gogh Alive made its way around Australia, plus Monet in Paris from June — says that Connection boasts the largest representation of First Peoples art and culture ever assembled. It spans over 3000 square metres, and its remit is just as sizeable: highlighting pieces by past and present artists, and surveying the entire country and Torres Strait. Shining a spotlight on emerging talents while showing their work alongside their inspirations is another key mission.

If it sounds familiar, that's because a smaller version premiered at the National Museum of Australia in 2022, with Grande Experiences joining forces with the Canberra gallery. Connection also benefits from an advisory panel featuring Constantine, Quilliam, King, Aboriginal art specialist Adam Knight, the National Museum's lead Indigenous curator and academic Margo Ngawa Neale, arts executive Rhoda Roberts AO, and designer and film producer Alison Page.

Updated: Thursday, October 12.

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