The Shahnameh: Persian miniatures

The Gallery has acquired ten miniature paintings from a volume of the Shahnameh, or ‘Book of Kings’, by the Persian poet Abu’l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020CE), the epic poem captures the lives and stories of the ancient Iranian kings, from the creation of the world to the Arab conquest of Iran in 642.1 The Shahnameh —…

Memories of homeland

In Hafiz in diaspora (illustrated) Amin Taasha has used sheets from a book of poetry by Hafiz (Persia c.1315–90) to render symbols and motifs from his own life and the history and mythology of Afghanistan and Central Asia. These include illustrations of the Gandharan Buddhist–style imagery that Bamiyan was known for; ammunition and weaponry of…

The horse: Companion & muse

The horse has been a integral part of human history for millennia, prized both for their agility, speed and endurance, or strength needed to pull a plow or a carriage full of people. However improved transportation options towards the end of the 1800s, especially the construction of railways, and the development of new mechanical innovations…

Woodblock prints signal Japan’s transition to an industrial nation

A lively group of seven woodblock prints representing Nagasaki-e and Kaika-e, made during the Edo (1615–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) eras signal Japan’s radical transition from a closed economy to a modern, industrial nation. Europeans first came to Japan in the 1540s and were initially welcomed. However, the Tokugawa shogunate grew concerned by news of Spanish…

O: A multi-channel video & sound installation

For those who have travelled in the Northern Territory and witnessed the central Australian landscape, the experience is often described as transformative. There is little to compare to the silence and vastness — the ragged beauty and an overwhelming sense of archaic time. For Japanese-born and, since 1996, London-based artist Hiraki Sawa, ten days spent…