New First Nations large-scale projection across Hamer Hall

Produced by Arts Centre Melbourne and in collaboration with RISING, Spirits Of The Land is a new large-scale digital projection which will illuminate Hamer Hall’s iconic facade throughout RISING and into NAIDOC Week.

As part of the Electric series, which began in 2022 with Maree Clarke’s Ancestral Memory, Spirits Of The Land is a newly commissioned artwork by artist Aunty Zeta Thomson, a respected Elder and descendant of the Yorta Yorta/Wurundjeri/Wamba Wamba/Wiradjuri people. The projection will light up Hamer Hall from 7 June until 9 July and will also feature in RISING’s Shadow Spirit exhibition at Flinders Street Station.

As a storyteller, cultural advisor and advocate, this isn’t the first time Aunty Zeta has had her paintings exhibited in such a way. Her work, Mookies Around the Waterhole, wrapped various Melbourne tram routes back in 2021 as part of RISING’s Arts Trams series. She was also the first Victorian Aboriginal artist to have work exhibited at Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Gallery. Inspired by family stories including the Yorta Yorta creation story, Aunty Zeta now has an opportunity to use Hamer Hall as a canvas for her art, acknowledging Victorian Aboriginal culture and forming connections with the wider public.

Aunty Zeta Thomson:

These are the stories and beliefs of my people, This work is to pass onto our younger generation and I think it is overdue. It’s a way of remembering and keeping the stories from my mum, dad and family, and the culture they taught us alive.

Spirits Of The Land is a work that shares the beliefs and stories from both Aunty Zeta’s lands and broader Aboriginal culture. The storyline includes Mookies, the Ancestor spirits of Country, Hairy Bekka, a creature that teaches children to keep safe, and Min Min lights, malevolent illuminations to avoid.

Thomson Explains:

Mookie means spirit in Yorta Yorta, In our culture, the old people would sing and clap our sticks or boomerangs together as they walked through the bush to let them (the Spirits) know that they were coming back to visit them again. It is important to strongly represent Victorian Aboriginal culture for people to know these ancient stories.

Curator and RISING Artistic Associate Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta):

It is an honour to work with esteemed Elder Aunty Zeta Thomson and to animate her stories. Spirits Of The Land is a work that shares belief systems and stories that are not myths or folklore, but very real to First Peoples across the state.

These systems of knowledge are part of a network of information that manifest through celestial connections, creatures of the land and waters and a cultural practice that is over 2,000 generations old. This new projection work, which is an extension of her paintings and storytelling practice, is an example of the ever-adapting way First Peoples share art and culture and I’m so excited for it to light up Hamer Hall, celebrating the strong, living First Peoples culture of Victoria.

Troy Walsh, Executive Director First Nations, Equity and Inclusion added:

Arts Centre Melbourne is incredibly excited to see Aunty Zeta Thomson’s work Spirits Of The Land illuminating Hamer Hall. It’s so important that we acknowledge Victorian Aboriginal culture and find ways to connect the wider public to First Nations communities giving greater visibility to their cultural heritage. We encourage everyone to come down to see it, to learn more about this work and the story it tells of her land and people.

Victorians are invited to visit every day from sundown to midnight to celebrate Victorian Aboriginal culture, pay respect to Country and to honour its rich history.

The event is FREE and open to all who wish to visit.

Season Details

Venue: Hamer Hall Façade
Date: 7 June – 9 July 2023

For more information click HERE

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