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Can art and design change the way you see or feel about a place or an environment – or even how you engage with it?

In this theme, we see how cultural traditions and stories can be deeply embedded in place. These stories can be expressed through materials and forms, such as Larrakitj (hollow pole coffins) made by artists from East Arnhem Land, or an armchair inspired by a cultural story told to children in the desert region around Fitzroy Crossing. Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for more than 65,000 years and, during that time, have witnessed immense change. From Ice Ages, to the arrival of Europeans, Aboriginal people have survived and thrived.

Art and design can also prompt new ways of seeing places, asking us to reflect on our physical relationship with what is around us, how much we really understand of the places we think we know and how deeply we engage with their layered histories. Art and design are also powerful tools for discussing environmental issues, such as waste, water and the vulnerability of living creatures. We see this in a table created from plastic bags that clog oceans, a tapestry documenting a vital water system under threat, and in playful representations of the species that co-inhabit our planet.

Environment and Place

Due to NGV procedures regarding light sensitive objects, the works below have been removed from display for the remainder of the exhibition.