Our wonderfully bold and whimsical front cover - COVID Woman by Apindra Swain from Odisha, India - reminds us of the difficult year that is behind us. Mai Nguyen-Long’s article on the Tet festival, the Vietnamese celebration of the Lunar New Year, also reminds us that this new year of the Ox may bring us relief and offer ‘possibilities for transformation, cohesion and connectivity’. She provides us with a fascinating account of the various customs associated with this important celebration.
As with all TAASA Review general issues, we try to offer a wide range of topics and artistic media, as well as covering some of the exhibitions that can be visited over the next three months.
Daniel McOwan shares his deep expertise on Hirado ware, a less well-known Japanese porcelain ware that deserves more recognition for its high production qualities and delicacy. Ceramic enthusiasts will also enjoy Carl Wantrup’s presentation of a lovely kashiki (a bowl for serving Japanese tea ceremony sweets) in his own collection, this one from the hand of Kiyomizu Rokubei V (1875-1959), an artist from one of the old ceramic lineages of Kyoto.
A number of ceramics objects, amongst other artworks, will be found in an exhibition The Way we Eat opening in April at the Art Gallery of NSW. Yin Cao, its curator, explains that Chinese artworks extending from prehistorical to contemporary times will be displayed under four themes - Essential, Exchange, Excess and Enchanted - to explore cultural exchange through food and utensils and reveal their ritual and symbolic meanings.
Another major exhibition in Sydney, The National 2021: New Australia Art, will open in March, spread over three institutions: the AGNSW, MCA and Carriageworks. A survey of art like this will inevitably encompass works by Asian Australian artists. In his article, Curator Matt Cox focuses on Abdullah M.I.Syed, whose work Matt points out resonates back to earlier artistic traditions such as the geometric and vegetal abstraction of both Minimalism and Islamic art.
Compassionate Grounds: Ten Years on in Tohoku, is a group exhibition of Japanese screen-based works commemorating the 10th anniversary of the tsunami and consequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in northeastern Japan. It will be shown in both Melbourne and Brisbane and presents the work of several artists who focus on landscape as an expression for the social traumas still reverberating among the region’s survivors.
Minhazz Majumbar may be familiar to TAASA members who enjoyed her lively zoom lecture offered by TAASA Queensland in October last year. Her talk and article in this issue, Portraying the Pandemic for Posterity in India, describes a project she initiated with artists working in Indian folk and tribal art traditions, with the idea of keeping them creatively engaged and to generate some income for them by getting these special COVID inspired artworks acquired by collectors and museums.
Penny Bailey’s article, Aesthetic Revelations: Yanagi Sōetsu’s Visits to Seokguram Grotto, will appeal in its evocation of this spectacular Buddhist site in South Korea, and demonstrates the power of discovery that travel can offer. Penny discusses how Japanese art critic Yanagi Sōetsu visited Korea for the first time in 1916 and was most enthralled by this 8th century grotto, recording his impressions in a lengthy essay which represents the first art historical reading of this ancient site.
Another fine piece of research is offered by Jamie Alexander, undertaken during his recent internship at the NGA when he researched a collection of 15 woodcut posters by the Indonesian activist-artist collective Taring Padi, dating from the late 1990s and early 2000s, a critical moment in Indonesia’s modern history. He describes how he meticulously went about identifying and dating the posters and places them for us in their cultural and political context.
Finally, for textile lovers, Chris Reid and Safrina Thristiawati provide an in-depth review of a report on decorative Lampung Sumatera textiles undertaken by Budaya Kreatif Foundation, Jakarta with the support of Brisbane TAASA member Greg Pankhurst, a keen collector of Lampung textiles. Their review makes further valuable contribution to research in this field. Similarly, Margaret White shares her ‘path of discovery’ in exploring the origins and techniques used to create a Jiaxie indigo dyed bed cover she bought in Singapore. Its revolutionary motifs, indicating its make in the 1960s or 70s, add further interest.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of TAASA and we are planning ways in which to mark this important achievement including a special issue of the TAASA Review in June and a celebratory get together.
Volume 30 No.1 March 2021
3 EDITORIAL - Josefa Green, Editor
4 CONNECTIVITY, FUSION, REVIVAL: TET STORIES AND MOTIFS - Mai Nguyen-Long
7 HIRADO WARE: PRINCE OF JAPANESE PORCELAINS - Daniel McOwan
10 THE WAY WE EAT: AN EXHIBITION AT THE ART GALLERY OF NSW - Yin Cao
12 AESTHETIC REVELATIONS: YANAGI SŌETSU’S VISITS TO SEOKGURAM GROTTO - Penny Bailey
14 THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA’S COLLECTION OF TARING PADI POSTERS - Jamie Scott Alexander
17 ABDULLAH M. I. SYED IN THE NATIONAL 2021: NEW AUSTRALIAN ART - Matt Cox
18 PORTRAYING THE PANDEMIC FOR POSTERITY IN INDIA - Minhazz Majumdar
20 COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS: TEN YEARS ON IN TOHOKU - Emily Wakeling
22 ONLINE BOOK REVIEW: CULTURAL ARTEFACTS OF LAMPUNG SUMATERA - Chris Reid and Safrina Thristiawati
24 A REVOLUTIONARY JIAXIE DYED CHINESE BED COVERLET - Margaret White
25 COLLECTOR’S CHOICE: KASHIKI WITH RED AND WHITE PLUM BLOSSOMS - Carl Wantrup
26 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
28 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: MARCH – MAY 2021
29 WHAT’S ON: MARCH – MAY 2021