Exhibition: Barbara Brown

Exhibition dates: 17 March – December 2017

Barbara Brown was the golden girl of Heal’s Fabrics in the 1960s and early 1970s. Talent-spotted as a student, her designs for furnishing fabrics are some of the most striking and unusual ever produced in the twentieth century and won awards from the Council of Industrial Design. This is the first major solo exhibition of her work in the UK.

For more information, visit the website of the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK.

Exhibition: Striking Patterns – Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion Design

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Exhibition dates: 21 October 2016 – 26 March 2017

In eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste people wear hand-woven, decorative ikat cloths as a mark of prestige and to flaunt their taste for fashion at festive events. Ikat is a form of art in which the yarn is tied and dyed – the Indonesian term ‘ikat’ means ‘to tie’ – before weaving. Woven into the patterns are myths, rituals, recent historical events, imported motifs as well as new fashion trends. Ever since they began producing ikat, weavers have incorporated foreign influences. Relying on old pieces from the museum’s exceptional collections as well as new cloths, including contemporary interpretations by Ito Joyoatmojo and Susi Kramer, the exhibition Striking Patterns: Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion illuminates the development of the tradition, illustrating how these highly skilled weavers have already long been part of the process of globalization.

Become enthralled by beautiful shoulder cloths, hip wraps and sarongs! This exhibition unfolds a sea of flowers. In particular, the Indian eight-pointed flower features in almost endless variations, accompanied by a rain of European roses. Animals populate the cloths, just as tourists do. We also find Catholic motifs in the shape of crucifixes and angels, while synthetic yarns and bright
colours lend some of the exhibits a radiant touch of modern fashion.

This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published in German and English.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland.

Event: My Dream of Heritage – Chinese Traditional Handicrafts Design Exhibition

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Event date: 24–26 November 2016 (see times below)

The Oxford Chinese Innovation Club are delighted to invite twenty-six craftsmen – heirs of China’s state-level intangible cultural heritage – to show their works this weekend at Hertford College, Oxford. More than ten categories of Chinese traditional handicrafts will be exhibited, including lacquerware, cloisonné, wood carving, batik and many others. Aimed at bringing the Chinese dream of cultural heritage to an international audience, this exhibition will be an excellent opportunity to get a taste of traditional Chinese art and sense the spirit of Chinese craftspeople.

At our exhibition, you will be able to:

  • Watch live demonstrations of handicrafts being made by top Chinese craftspeople
  • Make traditional handicrafts yourself, such as batik, kites, dough figurines and rabbit gods
  • Watch live performances of some of the most typical forms of traditional Chinese performance, such as Guqin, Kun opera, Peking opera, and marionette
  • Have a chance to purchase your favourite handcrafts, which combine the finest traditional handicrafts with contemporary design

Come and join us to discover the beauty of traditional Chinese art and be ready to get inspired!

Opening ceremony: 56 pm, Friday 25 November (refreshments will be served before the ceremony)

Exhibition (drop by any time to visit the exhibition):

2–4 pm Thursday 24 November

2–9 pm Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November

For more information, visit this event’s Eventbrite page.

News: Re-opening of the V&A’s Refurbished Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art

V&A - Toshiba Gallery re-opening

The V&A’s refurbished Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art will re-open on Wednesday 4 November 2015.

The gallery refresh is part of the V&A’s ongoing FuturePlan scheme of restoration and redesign to create beautiful and contemporary new settings for the museum’s outstanding collections. Originally opened in December 1986, the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art was the first major gallery of Japanese art in the UK. It was designed to show highlights of the V&A’s internationally important collection of Japanese art and design, which the museum has built up since it was founded in 1852. The refurbished gallery will exhibit around 550 works in a newly curated series of displays that will include 30 or more recent acquisitions. A group of kimono from the 1920s–1930s are among the recent acquisitions that will be shown in the refurbished Toshiba Gallery.

The gallery will illustrate the extraordinary craftsmanship and artistic creativity of Japan from the sixth century to the present day through displays of swords and armour, lacquer, ceramics, cloisonné enamels, textiles and dress, inrō and netsuke, paintings, prints and illustrated books. The lighting, graphics and display cases have been updated and the gallery reconfigured to give space to modern and contemporary objects such as interior design, product design, electronics, photography, graphics and fashion – both high-end and kawaii street. An outfit from Issey Miyake’s 132 5. range will be shown, which employs the concept of origami to create a piece of womenswear out of a single piece of fabric, as well as a pair of gravity-defying shoes by the brilliantly creative Noritaka Tatehana.

The history and traditions of Japan are explored in the Toshiba Gallery, as well as how they resonate in contemporary society, including themes such as religion and ritual, arts of the samurai, tea drinking, theatre and performance, fashionable dress, dress accessories, lacquer and elegant pursuits, ukiyo-e and the graphic arts, engagement with the West, Imperial Japan, folk craft and the modern and contemporary. The displays will be complemented by films about inrō, putting on a kimono and obi, how to make a sword fitting and how to put on a suit of armour.

Treasures of the gallery include the lavishly decorated Mazarin Chest, made in Kyoto around 1640, which is one of the finest pieces of Japanese export lacquer to have survived from this time; a wonderfully preserved late seventeenth-century six-fold screen depicting the Nakamura-za Kabuki theatre in Edo (Tokyo); a set of twelve inrō for the twelve months of the year by the renowned nineteenth-century lacquer artist Shibata Zeshin; utensils for the tea ceremony including several rare and important examples of ceramics; and a major group of extremely high quality cloisonné enamels from the period 1880 to 1910.

Admission to the Toshiba Gallery (Room 45) is free.

For more information, visit the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Exhibition: A Flower from Every Meadow – Design and Innovation in Pakistan’s Dress Traditions

Mohatta Palace - A Flower from Every Meadow

Exhibition dates: 11 June 2015 – 28 February 2016

This exhibition celebrates the richness of Pakistan’s textile heritage with over a hundred rare and never-before-seen objects from the royal collections of the Khan of Kalat, Nawab of Bahawalpur and Talpur Mirs of Hyderabad. Also included are a number of rarities acquired from the collection of Sheila Paine, whose travels deep into Indus Kohistan uncovered pieces that are now being displayed for Pakistani audiences for the very first time.

For those with a more contemporary disposition, the work of nine premiere designers is also displayed, including Shamaeel Ansari, Sonya Battla, Rizwan Beyg, Bunto Kazmi, Khaadi, Maheen Khan, Sana Safinaz, Faiza Samee and Nilofer Shahid.

The exhibition is curated by Mohatta Palace Museum Director Nasreen Askari, who was also responsible for the exhibition Colours of the Indus at the V&A in 1998.

For more information, visit the Facebook page of the Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, Pakistan.