Media releases

ACMI to celebrate women on screen with world premiere 2023 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition: Goddess

13 December 2022

ACMI to celebrate women on screen with world premiere 2023 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition: Goddess

ACMI is set to pay tribute to the formidable women of the screen in next year’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces blockbuster: Goddess. Featuring never-before-seen costumes, cinematic treasures, interactive experiences and large-scale projections, this landmark ACMI-curated exhibition will unveil, examine and celebrate the changing representation of femininity across film history through provocative on-screen moments. Presenting the daring, disruptive and defiant characters that have shaped our screen culture, the exhibition invites audiences to celebrate the power and complexity of the goddess on screen. ACMI will present Goddess in its world premiere in Melbourne, opening 5 April 2023, before the exhibition tours internationally.

Goddess announce_composite image_FULL CREDITS IN CAPTION SHEET

L-R: Laverne Cox in Paper Magazine, 2020, © Joshua Kissi. Marilyn Monroe, image by Milton H. Greene, © Archive on behalf of Milton H. Greene. Anna May Wong, image courtesy of CPA Media Pte Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo.

From the icons of the silent era to classic Hollywood heroines to cinema’s memorable villains and the stars of Bollywood blockbusters, Goddess is a powerful portrait of on-screen personas who have come to define and disrupt the feminine ideal. Going behind the lens, Goddess will also examine the off-screen conversations – and even social rebellions – these portrayals often ignited, from the gender redefining sartorial statements of Marlene Dietrich in Morocco (1930) and Tilda Swinton in Orlando (1992) to Pam Grier’s boundary-breaking Blaxploitation film career, the impact of Elaine Crombie in Kiki and Kitty (2017) and Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey (2020) to today’s unfolding Me Too movement and the expanded representations of womanhood found in India, China and Japan’s cinematic histories.

With more than 150 exhibition highlights, including lush costuming, immersive video works, evocative soundscapes by Melbourne-based composer Chiara Kickdrum, and props and sketches on display, Goddess will consider how screen culture has shaped and challenged audiences’ views of gender and womanhood. Showcasing a pair of sky-high heels synonymous with Mae West's on-screen personas, costumes worn by Geena Davis in the iconic road movie Thelma & Louise (1991) and the rich detail of Michelle Yeoh's fight-ready outfit in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), the exhibition offers a fresh perspective on some of cinema’s most memorable female characters.

Minister for Creative Industries, Steve Dimopoulos, said: “We’re backing another world premiere, Australian-exclusive for Melbourne, with ACMI’s latest exhibition Goddess to celebrate game-changing women of the screen.”

“Winter in Victoria already brings a spectacular offering of events and activities, with this latest addition drawing more visitors to discover everything there is to love about Melbourne.”

ACMI Director of Experience & Engagement, Dr Britt Romstad, said: “The women of Goddess are bold, rebellious and defiant. Their power is expressed in numerous ways – in what they wear, how they move and the stories they tell.”

“ACMI’s exhibition honours their influence and daring, and explores how they have transformed the face and expectations of on-screen femininity for audiences, time and time again.”

Goddess_Britt Romstad_photo by Phoebe Powell_FULL CREDIT IN CAPTION SHEET_18

Dr Britt Romstad, ACMI Director of Experience & Engagement, 2022, photo by Phoebe Powell. Costume: Kitty (Elaine Crombie) costume, Kiki and Kitty, Australia, 2017, designed by Amelia Gebler, courtesy of Jetty Distribution Pty Limited.

A vibrant Goddess events program, including late-night exhibition access, performances, talks and film screenings, exhibition ambassadors and guests, will be announced in February 2023 when tickets go on sale. Join the mailing list to stay up to date with exhibition announcements.

Goddess is part of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, presented by Visit Victoria and proudly supported by Porsche Cars Australia, Lead Exhibition Partner.


Download a selection of images here.

  • Goddess runs from 5 April to 1 October 2023 at ACMI, Fed Square, Melbourne. For more information visit
  • Goddess is part of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, presented by Visit Victoria
  • Curated by ACMI, Goddess is a world-premiere exhibition
  • A vibrant events program of talks, tours, screenings and more will be announced in February 2023
  • Tickets to Goddess will go on sale in February 2023

About Melbourne Winter Masterpieces at ACMI
ACMI has been part of the annual Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series since 2007, bringing major international exhibitions such as David Bowie Is… and Hollywood Costume exclusively to Melbourne, creating multi-award-winning blockbusters that have subsequently toured the world. More than 1.4 million local, interstate and international visitors have experienced Melbourne Winter Masterpieces at ACMI, with the museum's homegrown touring exhibitions such as Game Masters, DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition and Wonderland attracting over 4 million visitors across five continents.

About ACMI
ACMI is Australia’s national museum of screen culture. The museum reopened in February 2021 after a two-year, $40 million redevelopment – an architectural, programmatic and technological transformation. ACMI celebrates the wonder and power of the world’s most democratic artform – fostering the next generation of makers, players and watchers. ACMI’s vibrant calendar of exhibitions, screenings, commissions, festivals, and industry and education programs explore the stories, technologies and artists that create our shared screen culture. Navigate the universe of film, TV, videogames and art with ACMI. More at

*This media release was updated 4.30pm Friday 3 February

For further information, interviews and images, please contact

Charly Binney
Senior Publicist, Common State
T: +61 435 356 530

Stephanie Payne
Senior Publicist, ACMI
T: +61 476 665 278

Frances Mariani
Head of Communications, ACMI
T: +61 416 069 778