Other Events

What's on in Australia: March - May 2014

A selective round up of exhibitions and events

Compiled by Tina Burge


Garden of the East: photography in
Indonesia 1850s–1940s
21 February - 22 June 2014
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Over 200 works including many new acquisitions will be on view in this first art museum survey of the development of photographic art in Southeast Asia. The exhibition includes a wide array of formats of 19th and early 20th century photography: from miniature cartes de visite to panoramas and massive presentation albums of commercial views; handmade family albums and illustrated books. Garden of the East includes work by the pioneer, mostly European, photographers in Indonesia such as Walter Woodbury and Isidore van Kinsbergen. It also has a special focus on works by Javanese professional, Kassian Céphas, the first indigenous photographer of note. Events in association with the exhibition include:

  • 1 March 2:00 pm, Curator’s perspective: Gael Newton, Senior Curator Photography and exhibition curator will outline her approach to the exhibition.
  • 20 March, 12:45 pm, Japanese woodblock prints: Dr Olivia Meehan, Lecturer, Art History, ANU, speaks about Yoshitoshi’s series of bijinga, or pictures of beautiful women, Thirty-two aspects of customs and manners (1888).
  • 4 May 2:30 pm: Auslan sign–interpreted tour of Garden of the East.
  • 6 May 12:45 pm, Indonesian photographer, Kassian Céphas (1845–1912): Gael Newton discusses his remarkable career. Free.
  • 18 May 1:30 pm: Traditional Indonesian dance performance supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.
  • June 14 -15: Borobodur to Bali, a special events weekend for 'Garden of the East’ and 'Finding your place in the world: recent contemporary Asian photomedia’. Curator tours, talks and screenings. Saturday 14 June, seminar day with FX Harsono and Alex Supartono, Indonesian scholar on historical perspectives. Saturday afternoon – TAASA members’ reception.

For more information go to:


Afghanistan: hidden treasures from the
National Museum, Kabul
7 March – 15 June 2014
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
During the turmoil that followed the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban in 1996, the director and curators of the National Museum in Kabul risked their lives to keep the museum’s most precious objects from being destroyed. These were secreted in the central bank vaults at the presidential palace, with multiple keys given to a few brave custodians, known as ‘keyholders’. The surviving treasures date from 2200BCE to 200AD, and include important archaeological finds from four significant Silk Route sites. Among the precious objects are Bronze Age gold pieces; hundreds of ancient coins; and the famous ‘Bactrian hoard’, a collection of some 20,000 gold, silver, and ivory artefacts from burial plots at Tillya Tepe in northern Afghanistan.

In the lecture series across three Saturdays from 22 March to 5 April archaeologists and museum experts discuss important ethical and practical issues raised by the exhibition.

Khadim Ali - The Haunted Lotus
6 March – 1 June 2014
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
In association with Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures, AGNSW has commissioned the Afghani-Australian artist Khadim Ali to represent the contemporary art of Afghanistan. His work considers familial ties, the Hazara people and culture, and the emergence of a lawless society in Afghanistan. In addition to these social issues, Khadim Ali revisits recurrent themes in his work, such as the construction of morality (good and evil) and ethnic, racial and religious fanaticism. The exhibition is comprised of new works including handmade carpets (woven in Kabul), photographs, drawings, video and miniature paintings.
For further information go to:


Wang Gongxin, Video Artist
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
11 April – 28 September 2014
The exhibition features three large scale immersive video works from Beijing born artist Wang Gongxin. Initially trained as a socialist-realist style oil painter, he began to produce video art in 1993 and is credited as one of the first artists to have created a site-specific video installation in China in the mid-1990s. As a first generation Chinese video artist, Wang Gongxin has commented that his concerns are ‘social’ and concerned with political and social issues, as well as history and tradition.
For further information go to:

Stars of the Tokyo stage:
Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints
8 May – 28 June 2014
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne
The prints reveal the dynamic world of Japan’s kabuki theatre through superb actor portraits created by artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) in the 1920s and 30s. A selection of kabuki robes from the NGA’s recently acquired collection from a Japanese theatre company illustrates the extravagance of this theatrical form. The exhibition will return to the NGA from 19 July- 12 October 2014.
For more information go to:

Detail of man’s ikat sarong, Trengganu, Malaysia c.1900.

Woman’s embroidered dress, Afghanistan 1965-75

Ceremonial textile, Toraja people, Celebes (Indonesia) c.1900-1920

 Palempore, Made for Export Market, India C. 1800

Collection Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

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