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…

Preserving our Asian scrolls

Thirty-eight Asian scrolls and twenty-one folding screens were recently assessed in a comprehensive survey to prioritise their rehousing in preparation to display the painted scrolls Courtesan and Maid (illustrated) and Vairocana bonji. Hanging Scroll: Courtesan and Maid (illustrated) in the current exhibition ‘I Can Spin Skies‘. The condition of the scrolls varied, with some scrolls…

Hey sis

Since the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) began in 1993, the series has been celebrated for its engagement with Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Pacific. Through the APT, the Gallery has built a collection of vibrant works by Pacific women artists. A significant number of these have been acquired through generous bequests…

Human human

Ah Xian began creating busts from live casting in the early 1990s. In his early series, such as ‘China China’, hand-painted cobalt motifs float freely across milky porcelain figures. Gradually, he felt drawn to other ancient materials — bronze, lacquer and jade — and, notably, worked on an ambitious scale in the delicate and painstaking…