Dalmatic (late 18th century)
silk, silver thread, silver (bobbin lace), linen (lining)
95.7 cm (centre back) 55.5 cm (waist, flat)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1958
A National Gallery of Victoria Touring Exhibition
3 NOV 2012 – 13 JAN 2013
LaTrobe Regional Gallery
27 APR – 30 JUN 2013
Art Gallery of Ballarat
This exciting exhibition draws upon diverse material from across all areas of the NGV’s rich collections to explore a range of living religious traditions found in the Victorian community today. With over 50 works of art, many rarely exhibited before, dating from the medieval period through to the contemporary, the exhibition looks afresh at religious practice and belief as seen through the eyes of artists past and present.
Through sculpture, paintings, prints and photographs, ritual objects and textiles the exhibition examines the history, stories, rituals and symbols of Australia’s diverse religious communities. Traditions represented include the religions of Asia, the spirituality of indigenous peoples of Australia, the Pacific and Africa, and the traditions of the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Thematic groupings of works of art include a Chinese porcelain figure of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin and an English earthenware figure of St George and the dragon; an 18th century French silk dalmatic and a Ghanaian ritual war shirt; a pair of contemporary Australian silver Kiddush cups and an Indian repoussé silver bowl depicting the Hindu creation story. These works reveal the rich diversity and common threads of spiritual practice and belief in contemporary Australia.
The exhibition also addresses the role of religious traditions in shaping individual and community identity, a theme examined in the VCE Unit Religion and Society.