THE DRAMATIC INSTALLATION OF LIFE DEATH AND MAGIC: 2000 YEARS OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN ANCESTRAL ART, 2010. PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA – TAASA Review December 2011
The public program of talks, dance demonstrations, workshops and film also featured a month-long installation related to the Hindu goddess Durga.
Craftsmen from the Crafts Council of Bengal in Calcutta created traditional sculptural icons in the public spaces of the Gallery, with the resultant Goddess figures blessed with offerings of flowers and sweets in an elaborate ceremony culminating in the figures’ immersion in the Parramatta River. Curated by Robyn Maxwell, Life, Death and Magic: 2000 years of Southeast Asian ancestral art (NGA 2010) focused on the animist art practice of Southeast Asia, ancestral traditions that have been maintained alongside peoples’ adoption of Hinduism, Buddhism and later Islam and Christianity.
Life, Death and Magic was particularly notable for its dramatic installation of sculptural works and extraordinary lighting effects achieved through the creation of shadows of the sculptures on the walls in the otherwise completely darkened exhibition space. Attendance at recent exhibitions of Asian art, such as The First Emperor (AGNSW 2010), curated by Liu Yang and Edmund Capon, following the success of the British Museum show curated by Jane Portal, then curated at the British Museum, with 305,000 visitors, have proven beyond doubt that Asian art can draw large numbers of visitors...