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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Indigenous identity explored in exhibition

A NEW exhibition at the Court House Gallery will explore Indigenous identity through a blend of traditional photography and contemporary artificial intelligence technologies.

Presented by Indigenous Design Labs (IDL), the ‘I Am Here’ exhibition aims to unveil the true spirit of belonging through real-time connections with those who carry the wisdom of the past.

It is the result of a creative mentorship and project for Indigenous youths to connect with Elders from the region.

Cairns Mayor Terry James said that ‘I Am Here’ represents council’s dedication to preserving culture, fostering education, and showcasing the remarkable cultural diversity spanning from Cairns to the Torres Strait.

“The innovative exhibition focussed strongly on knowledge building through creative mentorships, as well as the passing of cultural knowledge from Elders to younger generations – an incredibly important way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain their culture,” he said.

“The opportunity for young creatives to learn from First Nations mentors and connect with Elders has been viewed as just as important as the final exhibition itself.”

The dynamic team at IDL has spent the past five years pushing the boundaries of what is defined as Indigenous creativity and working with some of Australia’s leading brands and companies including MECCA, Target, The EVT Group, Cairns Regional Council, The Starlight Foundation and more.

Aboriginal designer and co-founder of IDL Leigh Harris  reflected on the ongoing journey.

“IDL is still a work in progress, but we are doing some amazing work locally and nationally,” he said.

“This exhibition connects these young people back to our Elders and importantly shows them and others who view it that we must never lose connection to them, they are at the heart of our belonging.”

In a world where technology can threaten to obscure the community’s connection to heritage, IDL is demonstrating that when harnessed thoughtfully, artificial intelligence can be a powerful tool for amplifying, rather than erasing, the voices of Indigenous communities.

I Am Here is on at Court House Gallery (38 Abbott Street, Cairns) from Friday 19 January to 2 March 2024, with the official launch event at 10am tomorrow, Saturday 20 January.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Countdown to Les Misérables and Severe weather affects power.

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