Viewers will need more than just their eyes to fully experience indigenous artist Aroha Groves’ multimedia work.
They will need a joystick and an avatar.
In what is believed to be a first in indigenous art, Ms Groves has brought gaming and art together in a virtual world that people navigate with an avatar in the form of a butterfly.
The New South Wales artist is an entrant in the new media category which has been included for the first time in this year’s Telstra Art Award, the largest indigenous art award in the county.
With the help of the Australian Centre for Virtual Art, Ms Groves has used a simulator to create a multi-layered virtual landscape. Starting in swampland the viewer moves the butterfly avatar through different environments, from the deserts of Central Australia to the tropical rainforests of North Queensland.
“I wanted to show that you can come from a bad place and move to a better place and emerge transformed,” Ms Groves said.
Ms Groves said she jumped at the chance to enter when she heard about the new media category, partly because she wanted to demonstrate that indigenous art was not restricted to traditional pieces.