180 Southeast Asian treasures in Canberra for world-first exhibition
Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia 'Dance mask of Kuda Narawangsa', late 19th century
National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta
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National treasures from Southeast Asia go on display at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in a stunning new exhibition, Crescent Moon: Islamic Art and Civilisation in Southeast Asia,on Friday 24 February.
It is the first time that an international exhibition showcasing the Islamic art of Southeast Asian countries has been staged anywhere in the world and the first time that many of the works have been permitted to leave their home countries. Works of art on show represent 600 years of Islamic art and culture in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and Myanmar (Burma).
In a dramatic, colourful display the exhibition showcases 180 glittering works, including royal crowns and tiaras; bejewelled ceremonial weapons; centuries-old silks; theatrical masks and shadow-puppets; precious blue-and-white porcelain; holy Qur’ans painted in gold; and wood-carved objects, including an enormous set of palace doors. Works have been drawn from 25 public and private collections in 5 countries, including Australia.
Developed in partnership with the Art Gallery of South Australia, Crescent Moon is the result of 15 months’ intensive travel, research and preparation by the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Curator of Asian Art, James Bennett, who developed the idea for the exhibition with Ron Radford, Director of the National Gallery of Australia.
The launch of the exhibition follows one of the most turbulent times in Southeast Asia, with devastating tsunami, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Crescent Moon will not only highlight the beauty and complexity of Islamic culture in our region, but also help Australians to better understand and appreciate the heritage of our nearest neighbours.
The exhibition will be officially launched by Michael L’Estrange, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at private function before opening to the public on Friday 24 February and closing on Sunday 28 May 2006.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated, full-colour catalogue with texts by renowned Australian and international scholars in both Indonesian and Malay language translations.
A media launch will be held at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on Thursday 23 February 2006 at 12pm.
Media launch Thursday 23 February 12pm