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Australia’s Dreams – Enlighten 2020 at the NLA

Australia’s Dreams – Enlighten 2020 at the NLA
Enlighten 2020 at the National Library of Australia
5 March 2020

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this presentation contains the names, voices and images of deceased people.

 

For the past 10 years, the National Library has celebrated Enlighten with illuminated projections – from the extraordinary Leonard French windows in 2011 to Ron Brook’s illustrations for Midnight at the Library.

While the pictures are the thing, it’s all about connecting viewers with the stories held in the Library’s collection. And for the first time, the Library’s projections will be accompanied by a soundscape drawn from interviews in the Oral History Collection.

‘Yes, our building is a remarkable blank canvas for the projections,’ said Stuart Baines, Assistant Director, Community Outreach. “But we see Enlighten as offering more than that. We want to tell a story and connect Enlighten’s audiences with their national collection.’

‘This year, our theme is Australia’s dreams, a theme that will be reflected in our Autumn and Winter event programs as well as the exhibition, Australian Dreams: Picturing Our Built World, which opens at the end of March. We want the projections and the soundscape to inspire thinking about our natural and built landscapes, our homes our community, and our society,’ he said. ‘We want viewers to think about what the ‘great Australian dream’ means for us today.’

Here is a preview of the images and voices featured in Australia’s Dreams.

We are part of the land

The evocative aerial photography of Richard Woldendorp is accompanied by the voice of Neville Bonner, recorded in the early 1980s.

The layers of design and fashion

While you listen to extracts from interviews with architects Ian McDonald, Harry Seidler, and Romaldo Giurgola, can you work out where the photograph by Wolfgang Sievers starts and another by David Beal ends?

And from that moment to this, I have adored this country

Featuring music from the Mick Doherty Collection and Salvatore Rossano, as well as the voice of Mem Fox, this complex collage features the many faces of Australia and the work of 15 photographers, including David Moore, Jeff Carter, Ern McQuillan, Robert McFarlane and Wendy McDougall.

I just felt that things were wrong

From women’s suffrage to marriage equality, from the peace movement to Indigenous rights, the voices of Jessie Street, Helen Crisp, Neville Bonner, Peter Black, the music of Toby Martin and the images of William Yang, Craig MacKenzie, and Lisa Styles remind us that it is people who shape our society, who stand up for justice, equality and freedom.

You come home to yourself

The remarkable Going Home by Harold Cazneaux, which shows a young girl walking home in North Sydney, circa 1910, is accompanied by the words of another photographer, Peter Dombrovskis, read by Duncan Felton.

Be Enlightened at the National Library of Australia, Canberra from 28 February to 9 March at Enlighten Canberra.

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