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Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion

Start Date 05 April 2023
End Date 01 October 2023
Venue ACMI
Location Melbourne, Australia
Curator Bethan Johnson
View of a pink gallery with three mannequins wearing pink outfits. In the background are close-up projections of Marilyn Monroe, Winnie Harlow and Rihanna.
Gallery view showing four mannequins standing on a circular plinth. A light strip circles downwards around the edge of the plinth.

Through iconic stories, characters and moments from over 120 years of moving image history, Goddess celebrates the women and gender-transcending superstars who shaped their own roles, took creative control and fought a system that tried to exploit them.

From the swagger of Mae West and glamour of Anna May Wong to the powerful punch of Pam Grier, this ACMI-curated exhibition salutes the groundbreaking achievements and impact of the screen’s leading gender revolutionists. Too often reduced to the status of bombshell, starlet and screen siren, these goddesses remain far more than stereotypes.

Featuring never-before-seen costumes, original sketches, interactive experiences and cinematic treasures, including iconic outfits worn by Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Geena Davis and Margot Robbie, Goddess honours the artists who challenged narratives, defied expectations and transcended tropes.

Whether it’s Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Michelle Yeoh or Zendaya, today’s goddesses unapologetically occupy spaces and roles that shatter glass ceilings, project solidarity and reframe society through essential stories, singular voices and complex characters. They’ve fought convention and an industry built to confine them with collective power and fearless creativity to embody their own heroes and forge their own paths.

Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion is curated by Bethan Johnson, ACMI and was developed with academics from Swinburne University of Technology: Jessica Balanzategui, Liam Burke, and Joanna McIntyre.