Asian + Pacific art

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Picture Paradise: Asia–Pacific photography 1840s–1940s

This is the first exhibition to survey the history of photography of our region – from India and Sri Lanka, Southeast and East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to the west coast of North America. It features pioneer local photographers as well as Europeans working in the region. The exhibition reveals the rich heritage and the many outstanding achievements of the first century of photography  in the Asia–Pacific region.

image: Douglas Kilburn South-east Australian Aboriginal man and two younger companions 1847 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Douglas Kilburn South-east Australian Aboriginal man and two younger companions 1847
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Purchased 2007

Crescent moon: Islamic art & civilisations in South East Asia

This exhibition is a spectacular visual exploration of the Islamic heritage of Australia’s nearest neighbours. As the first major international exhibition to focus on the Islamic art of Southeast Asia, Crescent moon introduces Australian audiences to the beauty and complexity of Islamic culture within our region. Southeast Asian creative genius found expression in a wide variety of media, including metalwork, manuscript illumination, textiles and wood carving.

Inside out: new Chinese art

This exhibition explores the vitality and dynamic changes in late 20th-century China - a period when the deeply-rooted cultural assumptions and centuries-old visual traditions have been under enormous pressure from rapid modernisation, changing political realities and conflicting global, ethnic and local identities. The exhibition features work by artists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as those living abroad. Consisting of nearly 90 works created in the years 1985-1998, Inside Out presents an astonishing body of art - confronting, clever, mysterious, elegant and always thought-provoking - across the full range of media, with painting, sculpture, photographs, installations, videos and prints by some of the world's leading contemporary artists.

Montien Boonma: temple of the mind

Montien Boonma (1953–2000) was one of Asia's most distinguished contemporary artists. This retrospective — curated by Thailand's leading art historian, Apinan Poshyananda, for the Asia Society, New York — demonstrates the broad range of materials and techniques that the artist explored, including: large-scale sculptures in metal, wood and ceramic; pen, crayon and pencil drawings; and organic collages on paper. Montien Boonma’s contemplative installations draw on the spirit and senses of Thailand, combining overtly Buddhist imagery with industrial and ephemeral materials such as gold leaf, fragrant spices, earth and charcoal.

The TT Tsui collection of Chinese ceramics

Since earliest times, the ritual of burial has played an important role amongst the people of China. Through the generous gift in 1995 of Chinese art by Dr TT Tsui, the National Gallery of Australia is able to illustrate the complexity and ongoing evolution of these burial rites.

Indonesian Textiles

The National Gallery of Australia holds one of the richest public collections of Indonesian textiles in the world. Now, thanks to the generous assistance of the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII), the extensive collection of over 1200 works is accessible to scholars, researchers and textile enthusiasts across the globe through this website.