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ACMI announces new major exhibition How I See It: Blak Art and Film

29 September 2022

ACMI announces new major exhibition How I See It: Blak Art and Film

Today ACMI announces its next major exhibition, How I See It: Blak Art and Film, a presentation showcasing works that explore new visions from eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives.

Spanning moving image, installation, documentary, photography and video games, How I See It amplifies the artists and filmmakers’ perspectives on representation, the gaze, colonial archives and knowledge systems. These eight creators consider how First Peoples have been historically represented on our screens as they also imagine alternate realities and futures. The exhibition showcases works that use diverse materials and ideas to disrupt and reimagine, as well as expand the artists’ practice, supporting experimentation with new technologies and mediums.

This ACMI exhibition, curated by Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung), will unveil five new commissions by Amrita Hepi, Jazz Money, Joel Sherwood Spring, Jarra Karalinar Steel and Peter Waples-Crowe, alongside works by Essie Coffey OAM, Destiny Deacon and Steven Rhall.

ACMI Curator, Kate ten Buuren, said: "How I See It celebrates Indigenous artists and filmmakers who help us to imagine limitless futures; unbound by limited and harmful representations that seek to define and control us. From everyday life to the fantastical, How I See It captures perspectives of eight exciting and distinct voices from the 1970s to now, who draw from and radically reimagine the images we have inherited and those yet to come.”

Scripture for a smoke screen: Episode 1 – dolphin house (2022), Amrita Hepi

Scripture for a smoke screen: Episode 1 dolphin house (2022), Amrita Hepi

How I See It spotlights the work of eight remarkable First Nations artists:

Amrita Hepi is an award-winning Bundjulung and Ngapuhi artist working with dance and choreography through video, performance, installation and objects. Her work has taken various forms, but always begins with the body and the point of memory and resistance. Amrita’s new work Scripture for a smoke screen: Episode 1 dolphin house (2022) is a two-channel video work investigating intelligence, desire and language. This work, co-commissioned by ACMI and SAMSTAG, University of South Australia, raises questions around scientific research, Indigenous knowledges and hierarchies, as well as the connection between human and non-human forms.

Jazz Money is a Wiradjuri poet and artist whose practice centres around story and narrative, producing works that encompass installation, digital, film and print. Her award-winning poetry is widely published, and her artistic works are showcased locally and internationally. Jazz’s new commission Rodeo Baby! (2022) is a large- scale visual essay negotiating the collection of Indigenous bodies represented within film and sound archives. Images taken from rodeo footage and the legacy of Blakfellas on horseback are printed on silk and installed in the gallery.

Joel Sherwood Spring is a Wiradjuri anti-disciplinary artist who works collaboratively on projects that sit outside established notions of contemporary art and architecture. He is focused on examining the contested narratives ofAustralia’s urban cultural and Indigenous history in the face of ongoing colonisation. Joel’s new commission, DIGGERMODE (2022), is a two-channel video and object-based installation addressing themes of memory and extraction. Joel unpacks complex histories of Indigenous engagement with museums, collection practices and the future of archives – both digital and physical – by experimenting with new technologies.

Jarra Karalinar Steel is a Boonwurrung, Wemba Wemba and Trawlwoolway multidisciplinary artist, whose work explores identity, memories, pop culture and folklore from her cultural history. She is known for her powerful poster art and large-scale public installations, including her work with Melbourne’s Art Trams. Jarra’s new commission More Than Just a Game (2022) features a playable arcade game situated inside an installation of a 1990s video game arcade. The game explores the story of a young Koorie kid being on Country in an alternative vision of Melbourne’s CBD.

Peter Waples-Crowe is a Ngarigu artist exploring the intersection of identity, spirituality and Australia’s ongoing colonisation. Influenced by his adoption and a later reconnection with his Ngarigu heritage, Peter’s work often comments and processes the world as a contested site for his multiple identities. His new commission Ngaya (I Am) (2022) is a single-channel moving image installation critiquing the misrepresentation and removal of First Peoples from his Country, framing his experiences as a queer Ngarigu person through a humorous and subversive lens.

Essie Coffey OAM, a descendant of the Muruwari people of north-western NSW and southern Queensland, was affectionately known as the Bush Queen of Brewarrina. She was the first Aboriginal woman to direct a documentary and award-winning feature length film, My Survival as an Aboriginal (1978), which exposed how First Peoples were marginalised across all aspects of their lives. Essie co-founded the Western Aboriginal Legal Service, was an inaugural member of the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 1985 for services to the Aboriginal community. Essie left an indelible mark on Australian politics, arts, and culture before her death in 1998.

Destiny Deacon is a descendant of the KuKu (Far North Queensland) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait) people. Her work since the 1990s has primarily focused on performative photography, exploring Indigenous identity with often provocative imagery that mocks cliched and racist stereotypes. Partly autobiographical and partly fictitious, Destiny’s photographic and video works on display in How I See It are insightful, comedic and imaginative works that place Aboriginal people in lead roles, encouraging discussion of political, Indigenous and feminist concerns.

Steven Rhall is a Taungurung artist, whose work responds to the intersection of First Nations art practice and the Western art canon. His sculptural installation Avert (2017) considers the interrelationship of First Nations culture and photography and responds to this by obscuring representation and subverting the gaze. The sculpture installation requires the public’s participation; looking through designated ‘peep holes’ the viewer becomes part of the work – this includes being captured and presented onto screens via a live feed.

How I See It_Peter Waples-Crowe_Ngaya (I Am) (2022)

Ngaya (I Am) (2022), Peter Waples-Crowe

ACMI Director of First Nations, Equity and Social Policy Gavin Somers said:How I See It showcases the diversity of our First Nations talent and provides a platform for our communities to come together and celebrate our culture, while driving cultural change through the lens of art here at Australia’s national museum of screen culture. These eight unique First Nations artists take us a step closer towards a future filled with infinite possibilities.”

ACMI Director & CEO Seb Chan said:How I See It gives all Victorians and Summer visitors an opportunity to engage with the work and ideas of eight key First Nations artists in ACMI’s largest exhibition space. We’re honoured to present this free Summer exhibition foregrounding First Nations storytelling and the powerful potential of new technologies and the moving image in changing how we think about ourselves and our collective future.”

Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said: “This remarkable new exhibition brings together ambitious, powerful and diverse works from exciting First Peoples artists from across the country.”

“Celebrating and platforming First Peoples’ art, culture, stories and creativity is a focus of our Creative State 2025 strategy and this exhibition does just that, while offering another captivating drawcard to Melbourne’s CBD.”

How I See It will be backed by a dedicated film and events program, designed to question the notion of place, national identity and historical representations of First Peoples from around the globe. Stay tuned for more details about this program.

An exhibition catalogue, including an introduction by Dr Eugenia Flynn and new writing by Ellen van Neerven, Dr Paola Balla and John Harvey, will also be available for purchase through the ACMI Shop.

How I See It: Blak Art and Film runs 16 Dec 2022 to 19 Feb 2023 at ACMI, Fed Square, Melbourne. Entry is free. Visit the ACMI website for more info.

Download a full list of exhibition artworks, captions and images here.


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. Navigate the universe of film, TV, videogames and art with us. 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. More at

For further information, interviews and images, please contact

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

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