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CONNECTION

Breathtaking Stories Through First Nations Art & Music
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"It was one of the most beautiful, amazing experiences ever."
"Thank you for a very wonderful experience. It was breathtaking."
"Best LUME exhibition so far."
"This was one of the most beautiful art experiences of my life."
"It was the best thing I’ve attended all year."

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Connection has now ended. THE LUME Melbourne would like to thank the community for its support of this groundbreaking experience.

Connection
was born from an idea to celebrate First Peoples' art and music and give back to their artist communities. Within the brushstrokes and melodies of their art and music, this landmark experience tells the story of our country’s rich and enduring cultural history.

Connection was developed for THE LUME Melbourne by Grande Experiences alongside Adam Knight, Professor Wayne Quilliam and a panel of leading Indigenous cultural advisors including Professor Margo Neale, Rhoda Roberts AO and others. It has been produced with the support of both State and Federal Governments and the National Museum of Australia.

Within Connection, over 110 visual and musical artists converge, coalescing into the most expansive tapestry of First Peoples' art ever assembled. Across nearly 650 paintings, including 85 significant pieces of original art, emerging voices (such as Sarrita King and Konstantina) dance alongside those of master artists (including Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Tommy Watson), who collectively bring songlines from the remotest regions of this land to life.

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The significance of Connection lies in three things: the unprecedented involvement of so many First Peoples artists and leaders from across this land, the status of First Peoples’ art as the world’s oldest continuous artistic tradition, and the role art plays in sharing Indigenous history and culture. Through the creative expressions that Connection celebrates, First Peoples have passed down their heritage, traditions, and knowledge systems from generation to generation.

Connection opens its doors wide. It is a platform for First Peoples to share their stories and perspectives, and it invites all Australians to appreciate and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and the significance of their art and music as a living, vibrant, and enduring cultural tradition.

An experience that every Australian can be proud of and learn from - through the lens of Connection our hope is to play a role in fostering reconciliation and promoting positive conversations and unity among all who call this land home.

Every artwork presented in Connection is done so with the heartfelt support of the artists or their families, all of whom receive recognition and royalties for their contribution to this breathtaking experience. Further, artists and musicians directly benefit from the sale of original art and merchandise within the experience.

THE LUME Melbourne is a member of the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia and Connection is presented at THE LUME Melbourne with the engagement and blessing of both Aboriginal Melbourne and Wurundjeri country elders. The experience was opened by Dr Lois Peeler AM – NAIDOC Week’s 2022 Female Elder of the Year.

THE LUME Melbourne will shortly announce details of initiatives supporting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation – a community-led, national charity working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote Communities across Australia, and Worawa Aboriginal College – a Victorian boarding school for Indigenous girls, of which Dr Lois Peeler is Executive Director and Principal.

Included in the Connection Experience

Smoking Ceremony

Learn about the significance of the traditional Smoking Ceremony practice through this interpretation, and take a moment to reflect before entering the main gallery.

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Emily’s Wall

Publicly displayed for the first time in Australia, Emily's Wall is an awe-inspiring collection of 53 works extended to infinity through a mirrored floor and ceiling.

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Gallery of Original Art

Explore this collection of dozens of original, physical artworks, and learn about the artists and practices behind them from our expert Gallery Assistants.

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Art Play

Fun for the whole family, this interactive installation responds to visitors’ movements, encouraging them to reflect on their reciprocal relationship with Country.

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Dining at Mirri

Discover the flavours of Indigenous produce through First Nations chef Mark Olive’s fusion of traditional and contemporary influences at THE LUME Melbourne’s café.

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Retail Store

Take home a momento of your visit to THE LUME Melbourne. Select from a range of programs, books, art, apparel, homewares, gifts and accessories.

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The Connection community

THE LUME Melbourne would like to acknowledge the following curators, cultural advisors and artists whose expertise, consultation and heartfelt support have been crucial in bringing Connection to life.

Wayne Quilliam

Internationally celebrated Aboriginal artist Adjunct Professor Wayne Quilliam is one of Australia’s pre-eminent modern-day storytellers, curators and cultural advisors. His award-winning career includes the coveted NAIDOC Indigenous Artist of the Year, Human Rights Award, Walkley Award, and nominated as a Master of Photography by National Geographic.

A photographer, artist, film-maker, author, and cultural adviser, Quilliam’s 30 years of experience working in rural, remote and urban communities across the globe has allowed him to conceptualise, design, create and curate over 300 exhibitions.

Adam Knight

Adam Knight’s involvement in the procurement and sale of works of contemporary Aboriginal art has spanned three decades. During this time Knight has come to influence the careers of prominent Aboriginal artists including Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Rover Thomas, Ningura Napurrula, Naata Nungurrayi, Tommy Watson, and Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre

Throughout his career Knight has owned and operated eight commercial art galleries. His current ventures include Director of Australia’s largest Aboriginal art gallery located at the renowned Mitchelton Winery in Victoria and The Hubert Estate, Gallery of Art in the Yarra Valley.

Margo Ngawa Neale

Margo Ngawa Neale, of Aboriginal and Irish descent, is clan-affiliated with the Gumbaynggirr, Kulin and Wiradjuri Peoples. She heads up the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges, and is Senior Indigenous Curator at the National Museum of Australia.

Neale formerly worked at the state art galleries in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, and curated award-winning national and international exhibitions and publications including Emily Kngwarreye, Lin Onus and Songlines. She co-authored a best-seller in Thames-and-Hudson’s First Knowledges series, of which she is series editor.

Rhoda Roberts AO

A member of the Bundjalung Nation, Widjabul/Wieybal clan, Rhoda Roberts is an experienced arts executive. She has a range of international and national industry practice within commercial, community and non-profit organisations, festivals and events.

A weaver, actor/producer and director, she is a sought-after consultant, speaker and performer in theatre, film, television and radio. Rhoda is currently the First Nations Creative Director (NORPA), Elder in Residence SBS TV Arts Ambassador, Voyages Indigenous Tourism and NIDA Consultant.

Alison Page

Alison Page is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman and an award-winning designer and Film Producer whose 24-year career links Aboriginal stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design.

She appeared for eight years as a regular panelist on the ABC TV show The New Inventors, and in 2015 was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame.Page is Associate Dean of Indigenous Leadership & Engagement in the Design Architecture and Building Faculty, University of Technology and the founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency.

Dr. Lois Peeler AM

A Yorta Yorta, Wiradjuri and Wurundjeri woman, Peeler was the NAIDOC Female Elder of the year 2022 and currently serves as the Executive Director and Principal of Woranda Aboriginal College among other roles.

With a storied career spanning the entertainment industry, public service, community development, social activism, tourism and Aboriginal education, Peeler has been a dynamic contributor to Aboriginal affairs for decades.

Educational information

Welcome Ceremony

Learn about the traditional meaning and contemporary significance of this ritual.

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Land, Water & Sky Country

Connection curator Margo Ngawa Neale explains the meaning of Country to First Peoples across Land, Water and Sky.

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Songlines

Learn about the significant roles that the land's natural features play as memory aids in First Peoples' cultures.

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Art of the First Peoples

Art is culture made visible; a way of affirming connection to place, to Country and to each other. Discover the traditional and contemporary methods of storytelling being employed by First Nations artists.

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Soundtrack

Spanning traditional ceremonial songs, iconic First Nations musicians and contemporary cuts, the Connection soundtrack is a vital complement to the experience's visuals.

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Iconography

Learn about some of the recurring symbols used in First Peoples' art for millennia.

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