ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) presents a world premiere exhibition that celebrates the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed Indigenous superhero series, Cleverman.
Cleverman stormed onto Australian screens in 2016 as a dystopian sci-fi series with a difference. With 90% Indigenous cast and crew, the series placed First Nations origin stories in a contemporary context, with political nuance touching on themes of class, racism and power.
Exploring Aboriginal storytelling, language and creativity in production design, costumes and props, this free exhibition invites audiences to listen-first and immerse themselves in a powerful and contemporary expression of The Dreaming.
This exhibition would not be possible without the support of Goalpost Pictures and Pukeko Pictures, ABC TV, Swinburne University.
From a concept by producer Ryan Griffen and production designed by Jacob Nash, Cleverman is the first Indigenous superhero story that presents First Nations culture in a contemporary and politically charged environment.
The series is about two brothers at war over the inheritance of the Cleverman mantle as tensions build in the city and the Hairy people become increasingly disenfranchised. The ACMI exhibition highlights the Cleverman development process. Creators spent years in consultation with the community and Aboriginal Elders about the cultural and spiritual content.
ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick said: "Cleverman presents origin stories in a sci-fi setting, a near-future laced with political themes that ring true today. We jumped at the opportunity to present an exhibition with a behind-the-scenes look into the craft, special effects and making-of details of a remarkable example of the talent and richness of Indigenous Australian TV and screen culture."
Concept creator Ryan Griffen said: "Cleverman started out as a story for my son, a hero for him to look up to and connect with his culture at the same time. It's been great to work with so many amazing creators across both cast and crew that make the series what it is, and to see the concept grow from a pitch to a tv series, comic book and now an exhibition."
Production Designer Jacob Nash said: "It was an incredible design challenge to develop the Hairies and to work on a TV series with such a powerful message. The exhibition shows some of the original design prototypes and props that we used in Cleverman, the development process of the Hairy peoples and Koen's powers in collaboration with the amazing artists at WETA."
Opening in the same week as Australian Research Council and Swinburne University's Superheroes Beyond Conference – audiences will have an opportunity to hear from cast and crew at Inside the Minds of Cleverman at 6.30pm, 6 Dec. Free for all First Nations Community Members. Tickets $35 Full, $30 Concession, $25 Member.
In addition, a VR work that explores 'becoming a superhero' will be on display in Screen Worlds, developed with an ARC grant by Charles Henden & Craig Bowler from Visitor Vision and VR artist Stuart Campbell (Sutu).
Thursday 6 December – Monday 22 April