‘INTERWOVEN JOURNEYS: The Michael Abbott Collections of Asian Art’

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Cover of the book being discussed.

‘INTERWOVEN JOURNEYS: The Michael Abbott Collections of Asian Art’


To celebrate the publication of Interwoven Journeys: The Michael Abbott Collections of Asian Art, published by the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2023, there will be presentations from two of the contributors, Matt Cox and Stan Florek.

‘INTERWOVEN JOURNEYS: The Michael Abbott Collections of Asian Art’
This 58 chapter publication, comprising contributions from curators, scholars and artists throughout the world, honours Michael Abbott’s profound generosity to many cultural institutions around Australia. His donations of South and Southeast Asian art to the Art Gallery of South Australia and other institutions have enriched collections and the broader community.


The Interwoven Journeys of Early Photography in Java

In Indonesia, as elsewhere, the advent of photography altered the way that images, and the people they pictured, were made and circulated. In comparison with a painting, a photograph was light weight, relatively inexpensive and was perfect for documentation and exchange. At the turn of the 20th century, photography, more than any other medium, was the preeminent mode for visualising and documenting the lives of Indonesian people. In looking at the photographs recently donated to AGSA by Michael Abbott and published in Interwoven Journeys, I will discuss the ambiguous qualities of the photograph as both a medium to document and contrive reality.

Matt Cox is curator of Asian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, where he is engaged with both historical and contemporary art. He has realised curatorial projects at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney Opera House and UTS Gallery. Matt has a PhD on Indonesian modern art from the University of Sydney, where he has taught subjects on contemporary art. He has published widely in Australia and internationally on Asian art, architecture and photography, including publications for the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Amsterdam University Press, and the National University of Singapore Press.


The Asian Collection at the Australian Museum

This presentation is an overview of the Asia Collection at the Museum and a brief history of how it was initiated and developed. As an amateur enthusiast of statistics, I offer some numbers, dissecting through the collections in time, geography, and culture – showing how, over time, the focus centered on Indonesia and Bali. Numerous people, some charismatic personalities, contributed hugely to developing the Asian collection at the Museum and their enthusiasm and dedication should always be remembered. I consider this presentation as a tribute to these people, some of whom I was lucky and privileged to know. The numerical data is supplemented with stories and anecdotes to show the collection’s profile.

Stan Florek works in a small curatorial team, caring for and researching the World Cultures Collection at the Australian Museum. His interests include indigenous technology, stone tools, population dynamics, deep human prehistory, the interplay between environment and culture, archaeology, history, and art, especially in Oceania. His collection-based projects include Torres Strait artefacts, First Nations (Aboriginal) boomerangs, the earliest ethnographic collections of the Australian Museum, indigenous watercraft in Oceania and Balinese paintings and ceremonial artefacts.

The evening will include the TAASA AGM, and a sale of second-hand books relating to Asian art.

Please bring book donations or drop off by 22nd May to one of the following people after emailing her:

EAST side: Josefa Green,  editorial@taasa.org.au

NORTH side: Sandy Watson,  sandy.h.watson@gmail.com

Wine and light refreshments will be served at the event.

Please make all bookings through this website. Payment in advance is essential. No refunds.


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Interwoven Journeys: Member
$ 25.00
Interwoven Journeys: Non-Member
$ 35.00


23 May
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm AEST
$25.00 – $35.00
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Annie Wyatt Room at the National Trust Centre
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