Birrunga – Sharing the Stories Behind Indigenous Artwork

  • 2023

  • Digital
    Apps and Software

Commissioned By:

Patient Zero

Birrunga Gallery

Designed In:


Immerse yourself in Indigenous history, story telling, and culture with the Birrunga Gallery augmented reality app. Experience the wonderment of hearing the incredible, harrowing, and inspiring stories behind these unique artworks, narrated by the artists themselves.

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  • The challenge was to create an immersive augmented reality experience for Birrunga Gallery visitors, who often spend only a few minutes looking at each artwork without gaining a deep understanding of its meaning. With a goal to preserve and share the history, culture, and spiritual meaning behind the artwork, the objective was to bridge the gap between traditional art forms and modern technology, whilst maintaining a great experience for app users. All of this needed to be accomplished in just a few short weeks.

  • The Birrunga Gallery app educates visitors and preserves First Nations story telling, through an engaging, immersive augmented reality experience. The teams’ principles, including ‘Don’t use tech for techs sake’, ‘Keep the end goal in mind’, and ‘Centre Indigenous culture’, guided the research and design process. Using image recognition, visitors scan artworks, launching interactive experiences where artists narrate the history, culture, truth, and story telling behind artworks. The app provides points of interest to explain how the colours, shapes, and objects relate to and convey the stories.

  • The Birrunga Gallery app makes a positive impact on business performance, helping the gallery to attract and engage a diverse range of visitors by inviting them to interact with and understand the artworks while championing the accuracy of sensitive information, inclusivity, and cultural sensitivity. The app also helps to preserve the cultural heritage of the Indigenous community by ensuring that their stories and traditions are shared and passed down to future generations. These stories help to promote cultural pride, awareness, and exchange, fostering a greater understanding and respect, which benefits the wider community, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.

  • The Birrunga Gallery app was designed to put the artwork and the camera feed at the forefront of the user experience, with a clear and intuitive UI that allowed visitors to easily engage with the artists and their stories. Key design considerations included ensuring that the app was accessible for users with hearing disabilities, providing captions for all content — something that will benefit all users considering the noisy environment of the gallery itself. Additionally, we worked closely with Birrunga Gallery and the Indigenous artists to ensure that the app accurately represented their culture and traditions. We paid careful attention to the use of colours and shapes that held specific meanings in Indigenous culture. The wing-like shape used in the app's titles was chosen to reflect Birrunga’s personal Lore, Sky Lore. The five pillars included in the splash screen represent Wiradyuri Central Lore for Yindyamarra: to do Slowly; to be Polite; to be Gentle; to Honour; to Respect. The colour in each pillar represents men, women, and Ceremony, aligning with the imagery in the artworks themselves.