Connection: Breathtaking Stories Through First Nations Art and Music at THE LUME Melbourne

July 3, 2023

I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne to see the Harry Potter stage show over the weekend which coincided with the opening day of Connection: Breathtaking Stories Through First Nations Art and Music at THE LUME Melbourne. And what a treat for this little designer’s eye it was!

THE LUME is Australia’s first permanent digital gallery and the largest in the southern hemisphere. It transforms art into a fully immersive sensory experience that sees artwork projected as large as four storeys high as well as covering the floor space over the 3,000 sqm gallery. It provides artists with the unique opportunity to generate and reimagine engaging visual experiences and really is a treat for the viewer’s senses.

Connection: Breathtaking Stories Through First Nations Art and Music is a world-class contemporary exhibition showcasing the art and music of Australia’s First Peoples, curated by Indigenous art curator Adam Knight as well as Wayne Quilliam and Margo Neale. It is a celebration of the art and culture of Indigenous and Torres Straight Islanders from all over the country and represents the largest experience of First People’s art ever assembled. The masterpieces are showcased by 150 projectors over the space as well as smaller interactive rooms and original artworks on canvas. 

Walking into Connection I was struck with emotion at the beauty and scale of this exhibition, it was like escaping to another world and being enveloped by the artwork itself. The colour, vibrancy, movement and music instantly transported me far away and made me realise how little I understood about the art and culture of Australia’s First Peoples but how I wanted to discover more about it. It is storytelling of a different kind using the newest technology with the oldest culture and focuses on the art through the lenses of Land, Water and Sky country all accompanied by music ranging from contemporary to classical. We moved around the exhibition sitting on bench seats, climbing the stairs to the balcony, having some refreshments in the cafe at the back and even laying on the floor – with no concept of time, slowing down to absorb the utter beauty and stories behind the 550 inspirational paintings. 

Connection was a really special experience and for a well travelled art gallery enthusiast I got so much out of this exhibition, one of the best I’ve ever seen. The stories communicated by the artists through art, song and performance were powerful and enlightening. It was a privilege to be able to experience it and I have walked away with a deep respect for First Peoples and Australia’s commitment to redress the wrongs of the past inflicted upon them.