Trailblazers. Binary-busters. Agitators and instigators. On and off screen.
Through iconic stories, characters and moments from over 120 years of moving image history, Goddess celebrates the women and gender-transcending superstars who shaped their own roles, took creative control and fought a system that tried to exploit them.
From the swagger of Mae West and glamour of Anna May Wong to the powerful punch of Pam Grier, this ACMI-curated exhibition salutes the groundbreaking achievements and impact of the screen’s leading gender revolutionists. Too often reduced to the status of bombshell, starlet and screen siren, these goddesses remain far more than stereotypes.
Featuring original costumes, sketches, interactive experiences and cinematic treasures, including iconic outfits worn by Marilyn Monroe, Geena Davis and Margot Robbie, Goddess honours the artists who challenged narratives, defied expectations and transcended tropes.
Whether it’s Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Michelle Yeoh or Zendaya, today’s goddesses unapologetically occupy spaces and roles that shatter glass ceilings, project solidarity and reframe society through essential stories, singular voices and complex characters. They’ve fought convention and an industry built to confine them with collective power and fearless creativity to embody their own heroes and forge their own paths.
This ACMI Touring exhibition was curated by Bethan Johnson.
- Size 1,000 square metres (10,000 square feet)
- 150+ objects, artworks and sketches, including behind-the-scenes material and photography
- 20+ iconic costumes
- 7 large projections, 3 LED video column experiences featuring a curated selection of visual essays comprising film clip highlights and supercuts and 5 bespoke PICO projections
- Soundscape by Melbourne-based composer Chiara Costanza
- Digital interactive, Goddess in the Machine, created by Junior Major in collaboration with artist Jess Herrington
To be announced soon.
In the press
"ACMI is framing the goddess not just by the tired “starlet” and “bombshell” tropes, but as a woman who pushes boundaries, questions norms and stereotypes."
by Lisa French
19 Apr 2023, The Conversation
Read more about the screen goddesses and works featured in Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion.
This thought-provoking examination of on-screen female representation offers secondary Media and English students new perspectives on gender, representation, narrative and changing social values.