Ancestral Memory digital projection returns to Hamer Hall facade this July

Ancestral-Memory-Mitch-Mahoney-and-Maree-Clarke-photo-by-Eugene-HylandA huge digital projection of the Spirit Eel will weave its way along the facade of Hamer Hall for the second time this July. Titled Ancestral Memory, it will offer Victorians another opportunity to watch the story of the Spirit Eel’s journey after the first unveiling was marred by a pandemic lockdown.

The physical manifestation of the Spirit Eel in Ancestral Memory was created by First Nations interdisciplinary artist Maree Clarke (Mutti Mutti/Yorta Yorta/Boon Wurrung/Wamba Wamba) and emerging artist Mitch Mahoney (Boon Wurrung/Barkindji).

“Both Mitch and I are super excited that so many people are going to see it this time around. Especially for young ones to see work on this scale that you can dream as big as you can dream, and it can end up somewhere like Hamer Hall. I love that!” says Clarke.

For Ancestral Memory, Clarke collaborates with her nephew to tell the mysterious journey of the short-finned eel of the Birrarung and Maribyrnong River systems as it crosses land, river and sea, taking on many forms on its path to maturity.

“All of my practice is about the revitalisation and celebration of South-Eastern Aboriginal culture. I try to create works that are designed to spark interest and educate people. Where I can, I like to create works that are collaborative and bring the public into an art space to learn and be involved in the art making process,” said Mahoney.

For the peoples of the Kulin Nation the eel is a protector spirit, food source, seasonal marker and timekeeper. The metaphor of the Spirit Eel connects time and place, a story of resilience and adaptation that has been pushed below the surface but never lost.

First commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne and RISING, this remounting provides First Nations communities with a new connection to the Hamer Hall site honouring their custodianship of the land and gives greater visibility to their cultural heritage.

Victorians are invited to visit Hamer Hall every day throughout July from sundown until midnight to see Ancestral Memory in its finest form and to learn and reflect on one of the greatest Aboriginal stories. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Mitch Mahoney and Maree Clarke – photo by Eugene Hyland