As a hopeful sign that we are finally emerging from two years of covid related hibernation, this December TAASA Review presents a number of articles which cover current or forthcoming Asian art exhibitions that we can enjoy over the holiday period.
A major development on the Australian arts scene is the opening of Sydney Modern in November. Melanie Eastburn offers an Asian art perspective on this major development, covering both the contemporary works on display at Sydney Modern itself and two related exhibitions being shown as part of a redisplay project for the AGNSW’s Asian art collection.
Other Asian art exhibitions can be enjoyed in Sydney over the holiday period. Sentient Paper at the Chau Chak Wing museum covers the centrality of paper to Chinese creativity, exploring this through the themes of Ideology, Technology and Art. Curator Shuxia Chen discusses the exhibition and also generously guided TAASA members through it in September (see Recent Activities p25).
At the Powerhouse is an Indian textile exhibition called Charkha and Kargha, discussed in the article contributed by its curator Pedram Khosronejad. Showcasing over one hundred Indian objects from the Powerhouse collection acquired since the 1880s, TAASA members were also recently able to enjoy a viewing guided by Pedram.
In Melbourne, China – The Past Is Present is on show at the NGV. Presenting more than 100 works, it aims to offer a new interpretation of the NGV’s historic and contemporary Chinese holdings. Wayne Crothers highlights the various complex themes which this exhibition explores across a wide range of media, from more traditional art forms to video, posters, photography and mixed media.
A newer Asian arts presence is the privately funded Australasian Cultural Arts Exchange (ACAE Gallery) in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. Its remit is to promote cultural understanding that goes beyond an exclusively Australian perspective to engage with issues relevant in both Chinese and Asian contexts. Damian Smith, curator and Director of ACAE Gallery, covers a number of exhibitions which were recently on show at this gallery.
Though hard for most of us to visit, Julia Booth’s article celebrates Nepal’s inaugural pavilion Tales of Muted Spirits - Dispersed threads - Twisted Shangri La at this year’s Venice Biennale. Five years in the planning, it showcased the work of Tsherin Sherpa, curated by artists Sheelasha Rajbhandari and Hitman Gurung who will be familiar to those who saw their work Not less expensive than Gold at the 2020 Sydney Biennale. Julia’s article on this project was published in the June 2020 issue of the TAASA Review (Vol 29 No.2) and she is clearly continuing her advocacy for Nepal’s contemporary art scene.
Philanthropic support for the arts has always been critical for our institutions, and this is illustrated by Matt Cox’s article on the donations - in this case, of more than 150 paintings and photographs - recently made to the AGNSW by three collectors. Matt notes that the contributions of Jim Masselos, Gael Newton and Robert Dein will enable the Gallery to document a complex period of colonial occupation and global entanglements in Asia in the late 18th to early 20th century.
Universities can make vital contributions to the arts, as testified by Matthew Stavros’ article which summarises the extraordinary work undertaken by him and senior Classical Japanese students at the University of Sydney. They have produced a full translation of a handwritten 12th century Buddhist ‘hungry ghost scroll’ called Gakiz?shi owned by the Kyoto National Museum – never before translated into English - and conducted a close analysis of the imagery. Their findings, as Matthew maintains, open up new ways of thinking about the scroll and, in particular, the cosmology that underpins it.
Finally, Natali Pearson covers the recent Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (AIMA) conference at Flinders University in Adelaide and online which explored how maritime archaeology, museums and heritage can be more inclusive and what can be done to elevate new voices and perspectives in the place of settler-colonial histories.
Apart from our usual coverage of TAASA’s past and planned activities, this issue features profiles of two relatively new members of the TAASA Committee: Chaitanya Sambrani and Mai Nguyen-Long. They add significant expertise and support for the Committee’s work.
I would like to thank Judith Snodgrass who co-edited this issue of the TAASA Review with me, her support was particularly critical while I was absent overseas.
TAASA would like to wish all its members an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season. In 2023, we look forward to offering another year of stimulating and informative events and presentations.
1 EDITORIAL - Josefa Green
4 ASIAN ART AT AGNSW: SYDNEY MODERN AND THE ASIAN GALLERIES - Melanie Eastburn
7 RIFTS IN THE FABRIC OF BUDDHIST SPACE-TIME: A HUNGRY GHOST SCROLL IN THE KYOTO NATIONAL MUSEUM - Matthew Stavros
10 CHARKHA AND KARGHA: INDIAN TEXTILE EXHIBITION FROM THE POWERHOUSE - Pedram Khosronejad
12 SENTIENT PAPER AT THE CHAU CHAK WING MUSEUM, SYDNEY - Shuxia Chen
14 THE NEPALESE PAVILION AT THE 2022 VENICE BIENNALE - Julia Booth
16 CHINA – THE PAST IS PRESENT: AN EXHIBITION AT THE NGV - Wayne Crothers
18 BENEFITTING FUTURE GENERATIONS: THREE COLLECTORS’ GIFTS TO THE AGNSW - Matt Cox
21 2022 AIMA CONFERENCE: DECOLONISING MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGY, HERITAGE AND MUSEUMS IN AUSTRALASIA - Natali Pearson
22 MELBOURNE’S AUSTRALASIAN CULTURAL ARTS EXCHANGE (ACAE GALLERY) - Damian Smith
24 TAASA COMMITTEE PROFILES: Chaitanya Sambrani and Mai Nguyen-Long
25 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
28 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: DECEMBER 2022 – FEBRUARY 2023
29 WHAT’S ON: DECEMBER 2022 – FEBRUARY 2023