Media Release: Temple takes flight at NFSA Canberra

Media Release
Published 28 March 2024

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) is the next home for Temple, a stunning, free audiovisual experience created by Australian artists Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J. Montalban. Temple opens on Friday 5 April 2024. 

Temple is an immersive, reflective audiovisual installation that pays homage to the expressive and idiosyncratic native cockatoo. Slow-motion visuals play across a triptych of towering screens, transforming the NFSA’s expansive Gallery into a space of wonder and delight. The installation includes a shallow pool of still water which extends the dramatic impact of striking, larger-than-life Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Galahs and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.

First commissioned for VIVID Sydney, Temple is a collaboration between photographer and video artist Leila Jeffreys, and filmmaker and artist Melvin J. Montalban. Jeffreys is known for her captivating images of birds from Australia and around the world, with a startling attention to colour, line, form and composition. Montalban’s creative output spans television, music videos and short films, typified by evocative storytelling, technical sophistication and emotional resonance. 

‘There is something truly magical about experiencing the work indoors, at this scale, with a purpose-built reflection pool of water,’ said Leila Jeffreys. ‘Temple features cockatoos— birds that we feel are ingrained in the Australian psyche. They move us to tears in the best possible way, and our hope is that we have created an installation that stirs the human spirit, encourages quiet contemplation, and reminds us of our connection to a universe that all living beings are a part of.’

‘To exhibit Temple at its intended scale, in a beautiful indoor space such as the Art Deco Gallery of the NFSA, is such a privilege,’ added Melvin J. Montalban. ‘We create our work as places of gathering, often to meditate on the natural world and our place in it, so to create another space for that here in Australia's capital is an absolute honour.’

‘This captivating collaboration from these two highly acclaimed Australian artists will mesmerise you with its moments of absolute beauty,’ said Chris Mercer, NFSA Head of Programs and Place. ‘It offers another opportunity to explore Australia’s rich audiovisual culture alongside our curated program and the gems on display from the national collection.’

The installation is free to visit, alongside The Library, which displays more than 280 curious audiovisual artefacts, and the Mediatheque, where visitors can relax and enjoy stories from the NFSA collection.

The NFSA is open daily, showcasing the national collection through audiovisual content in the Mediatheque and artefacts on display in The Library. Arc Cinema offers a weekly, curated program of new releases and revived classics. The Church cafe and bar serves locally roasted Redbrick coffee, sandwiches and pastries during the day. Open late for NFSA events, the bar offers craft beers, wine, snacks and more. 

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Images available here on Dropbox; vision available on request.

Media enquiries and interview requests: 
Jacqui Douglas | Communications Specialist | 0417 738 434 |