Dense fog, shifting mist and the dark waters of the Murrumbidgee River transform objects from the National Museum of Australia’s collection in a new exhibition by contemporary artist Vic McEwan, on display at the National Museum of Australia from 23 February to 30 April 2023. Touring the country from 2020–2023, Haunting consists of photographic works and videos exploring the complex history of agriculture and land use in the Murray–Darling Basin.

McEwan and National Museum curator Dr George Main created the digital works by projecting images of objects from the Museum’s collection on to the Murrumbidgee’s dark waters and into fog, mist and smoke. Objects projected include William Farrer’s industry-changing disease and drought-resistant wheat, key collection objects, historic photographs, and a time-worn map. McEwan said the exhibition offers a chance to reconsider the complex histories of Museum objects.

“To be able to bring the Museum objects out from behind their glass and to reanimate them with fog, mist, smoke and water, was an incredible opportunity. By layering them back into the landscape using light, projection and natural elements, while re-photographing them, we managed to create a series of abstract images which appear as though they were painted with light into the landscape,” Mr McEwan said.

National Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca, said the exhibition encourages people to see the Museum’s collection in new ways.

Haunting is a fascinating body of work that encompasses photography, video and text. Demonstrating how objects and stories can be brought to life, this exhibition provokes various interpretations of the past and its ever-unfolding consequences in the present,” Dr Trinca said.

Haunting will next visit the Narrandera Arts and Community Centre followed by the Burra Regional Art Gallery.

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