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Wet Season Wonderland

Ever wanted to draw a monster goby, watch the world’s first full-length feature film or make your own megafauna? The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is a treasure trove of holiday fun and discovery.

by Anna Dowd.

Darwin’s premier cultural institution will see more than a few repeat visitors throughout this Wet season with workshops, exhibitions and activities for all ages.

Escape the heat with a trip or two devoted to the MAGNT exhibition spaces. Tjungunutja is a must see exhibition with more than 130 paintings, artifacts and a film installation showcasing the early days of the famed Papunya Art Movement in Central Australia. 

The MAGNT at the Movies program will have you pulling out your diary with a unique program catering to kids, families and film lovers alike.

Learn about Australia’s 100-year history of cinema every Sunday with film screenings from the National Film and Sound Archives, including the world’s very first feature flick, The Story of the Kelly Gang, made in 1906. 

Guest program curator Tim Parish says the program is a chance to showcase films that reflect the role of museums.

“As a curator we’re usually totally focused on contemporary films, doing premieres and that kind of thing. But a museum is a place where we look at history, and make sure we don’t lose it. Going into Australia’s film archives is the ideal way to do this.”

For Parish the perfect contrast is the Saturday afternoon program featuring the best contemporary short films from the world’s top film festivals including Sundance and Tropfest plus Oscar nominated short films. 

“Showcasing contemporary art and culture is also the role of the museum, so I wanted to show recently made films, but ones you can’t necessarily find on DVD or Netflix,” he says.

And for the school holiday revellers there’s a selection of the best films for two to 12 year olds, chosen from Australia’s largest children’s film festival, Little Big Shots.

“There’s not a lot around at cinemas for kids in this age range, so it’s another unique opportunity to show films that aren’t your usual Disney movie. Plus I think the adults will enjoy them as much as the kids,” says Parish.

Indeed if you’re a big kid at heart, there’s a lot more on offer for you and your smaller charges this school holidays. 

Peer into microscopes, make your own Miocene megafauna or just chill out in a beanbag with a book or puzzle at the Discovery Centre. Or get your six to 12 year olds in for one of the many art meets science style workshops happening throughout January. 

Kids can learn basic street art techniques from legendary graffiti artist Dave Collins, who’ll go deep into to the back of house stores to get everyone inspired to spray paint and stencil their very own monstrous animals.

And what is a monster goby? It’s the Territory’s strangest and scariest looking fish. The kids will know everything there is to know by the end of this session with artist Shaun Lee, including how to draw the famed fish. 

INFO magnt.net.au 

Thumbnail image: MAGNT Kids Club explore Mumu Mike Williams’ 34th Telstra NATSIAA entry, 'Postbag painting'

Header image: Installation (detail) by Joanna Roberts, 2017

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