The current exhibitions at RMIT Gallery – Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, Backs of Banaras by Terry Burrows and Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla close at 5 pm on Saturday 30 May. Don’t miss seeing these visually compelling shows. Here is what others are saying about them:
“Loving these brilliant colors!” That’s a typical comment from audiences who come to Unfolding: New Indian Textiles, which celebrates the handmade and strong tradition craftsmanship in Indian villages, and the innovative designers who meld the old and the new to reach out to a global audience.
“This is an outstanding exhibition of color and texture, that has opened our eyes to an India of which we were unaware,” is a comment in our visitor’s book.
This is echoed by other comments – “Indian textiles – wool stitching is incredible – excellent exhibition!”; “Visually and technically magnificent!”; “An amazing, inspiring, surprising, beautiful exhibition…a truly memorable and very beautiful experience to behold.”
The complementary exhibition Backs of Banaras, by Terry Burrows, presents a display of large photographic prints that lines up many torsos along the ghats of the Ganges at Varanasi (Banaras). Banaras is known as the city of Shiva, one of India’s most revered sites of Hindu ritual, and the exhibition invites viewers to explore another side of India.
The exhibition provides a visual contrast with Unfolding: New Indian Textiles and this dichotomy between high fashion and the textiles worn by villagers in rural India is a deliberate choice by RMIT Gallery Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies.
“The aim of the exhibitions is to showcase the 21 st century application of Indian craftsmanship to an international audience, and to reveal also the everyday, ordinary textiles worn in rural areas,” Ms Davies said.
“We wanted people to have a meditative experience when they viewed Backs of Banaras, and pause to enjoy a sense of calm.”
And it worked – in the visitor’s book, someone notes; “Terry Burrows photos were outstanding. An intriguing set that kept revealing more and more on many levels; aesthetic, social, patterns, texture, shapes – wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and it opened my eyes to new ways of seeing.”
One of the great strengths of a university public art gallery is its ability to explore often provocative ideas and challenge viewers, showcasing how artists have responded to certain events or ideas. This is the case in the third exhibition at RMIT Gallery, shown alongside Unfolding: New Indian Textiles and Backs of Banaras.
The exhibition Japanese Art After Fukushima: Return of Godzilla is curated by Associate Professor Linda Williams, RMIT School of Art, and draws inspiration from two major events in Japan that led to radioactive contamination: the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and the 2011 tsunami. Art After Fukushima questions the benign effects of the use of nuclear power, as explored through the work of six Japanese artists.
One visitor commented; “An excellent showing of three very different exhibitions. The Indian materials are stunning. The Japanese exhibition is so powerful and hauntingly beautiful in its vulnerability. The Backs of Banaras captures each moment in time with exquisite human stories. Thank you!”
Here at RMIT Gallery we work with a passion for the arts and are firm believers in the power of cultural diplomacy and the ability of the arts to move and affect people. Perhaps it is too big a task to ask any artform to be able to change people’s perspectives, but we do believe that well curated exhibitions have an impact on people, even if it is just an opportunity to take a moment to think – and view – things differently.
We are always attentive to the comments in our visitor book, and are often very moved by what people choose to spend time to write and tell us about their experience. Here are some more highlights:
“As a disability support pensioner with acquired brain injury, it was wonderful to attend an exhibition free of charge…thank you very much for what I saw and this wonderful opportunity.”
“Positive – positive – positive! A challenge to deadly uranium. Keep it in the ground. This art is revolutionary!”