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Art gallery of western australia           
AGWA media
7 October 2015
Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices
sails into AGWA
10 October 2015 – 31 January 2016 | Adult $15, Concession $12
#TreasureShips |

Minister for Culture and the Arts John Day and AGWA Director Stefano Carboni, unveiled the Art Gallery of Western Australia's latest exhibition Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices at an exclusive preview at the Gallery this morning, ahead of tonight’s official opening.

This highly anticipated exhibition, the result of a collaboration between the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) and AGWA, features the spectacular and exotic art produced for global markets from the 1500s to early 1800s.

Demand for spices spurred on the great voyages of exploration and the establishment of vast empires across Asia. Treasure Ships presents the stories of the spice markets, slave trade and shipwrecks, as well as illustrating the astonishing beauty of Chinese porcelain, known as 'white gold' and celebrating vibrant Indian textiles created for export around the world.

Stefano Carboni, AGWA Director said, “We are delighted to partner with the Art Gallery of South Australia in presenting this exhibition which helps to highlight WA’s place in world exploration and trade during the ‘Age of Spices’. Visitors will have the chance to experience the complexity and richness of new ideas and exchanges that were brought about in the 16th to the 19th centuries through this trade.”

“Although historical in context, the themes of cultural exchange through trade between the East and West has never been more current,” he continued. “In a month when Australia’s new trade agreement with China is hotly debated and the Trans-Pacific Partnership announced, this exhibition reminds us that the cut and thrust of international trade is nothing new - nor is the dynamism it brings to the arts, sparking amazing cross-cultural innovation. This exhibition magnificently showcases the creative dividends of the original information super highway - the ocean - and surely it sets the bar very high for today’s international artists.”

Treasure Ships includes over 250 outstanding and rarely-seen examples of ceramics, decorative arts, furniture, maps, metalware, paintings, prints and textiles from public and private collections in Australia, India, Portugal, Singapore and the United States.

“The diversity of art within this exhibition builds a fascinating journey for visitors. It paints a picture as to what brought Europeans to this region and showcases the rich transfer of culture and art that happened as an integral part of the political, economic and religious motivations for exploration,” said Melissa Harpley, AGWA Curator of Historical and Modern Art.

A highlight of the exhibition is the shipwreck artefacts retrieved from the Batavia and the Gilt Dragon, which sank off the Western Australian coast in the seventeenth century. As well as a large scale 16th century portrait of Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese viceroy of the state of India, on loan from the National Museum of Ancient Art (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga), Lisbon.

Treasure Ships opens to the public this Saturday with a fun-filled weekend of free creative activities inspired by the exhibition, that include map-making and painting with spices.

Tickets to the exhibition are now on sale at, through Ticketek outlets, and at the Art Gallery of WA ticketing desk.

Ticket buyers will go into a draw to win a family trip for four to Singapore.


The Treasure Ships app takes visitors on a journey through a historic spice trail exploring selected artefacts from the exhibition. The app features an interactive map, exclusive artefact information, and public and in-exhibit augmented reality activations. Visitors who complete the exhibition trail will earn an extra entry in to the draw to win a trip to Singapore.


10am-4pm | Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 October 2015
Activities are FREE, exhibition entry costs apply. Suitable for ages 5 and up.
To celebrate the opening of the Treasure Ships exhibition, AWESOME Festival and the Art Gallery of WA are working together to present a wonderful Family Weekend. Come along to take part in some fun, creative activities to help you learn more about the themes within the exhibition, that include map-making and painting with spices. On Saturday, be entertained by Glenn B. Swift, Storyteller Extraordinaire and on Sunday experience the magic of an Indonesian Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) performance.

Where art, live entertainment and people come together. ARTBAR tickets include entry to Treasure Ships on the night.

Guy Pearce
6.30-10pm, Thur 15 Oct | $47+bf
San Cisco
6.30-10pm, Thur 29 Oct | $50+bf
Clare Bowditch
6.30-10pm, Thur 26 Nov |$62+bf

University of Western Australia (UWA) Institute of Advanced Studies

Lecture Series FREE | Lecture attendees receive discounted exhibition entry

6pm, Wednesday 21 October
Theatre Auditorium, University Club of Western Australia
View from the Shore: the cultural impact of globalization on Indonesia during the Age of Spices
A public lecture by James Bennett, Curator of Asian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia and co-curator of Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices.

6pm, Wednesday 4 November
Theatre Auditorium, University Club of Western Australia
Shipwrecks of the Roaring Forties
A public lecture by Corioli Souter, Curator, Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western Australian Museum and Adjunct Lecturer in Archaeology, The University of Western Australia.

6.15pm, Thursday 12 November
AGWA Theatrette
The Spice of Faith: Jesuits and the Arts and Emotions of ‘Accommodation’
A public lecture by Yasmin Haskell, Cassamarca Foundation Chair of Latin Humanism, The University of Western Australia.
Attendees at this final lecture in the series will be able to purchase discounted tickets to an exhibition tour with AGWA Director Stefano Carboni before the lecture (5pm-6pm).

2pm, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun from 14 October
Tours are FREE, exhibition entry costs apply.

Adult $15 | Concession $12 | Child (Ages 5-12) $5 | Child (4 years and under) FREE
Student (Ages 13+) $10 | Family (2 Adults & up to 3 children) $35
Group (8 or more) $12 | Concession Group (8 or more) $10

For more information, interviews and imagery please contact Tanya Sticca on 9492 6692 or email
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Art Gallery of Western Australia
Perth Cultural Centre
+61 8 9492 6600
10am–5pm Wednesday & Monday
Closed Tuesdays
Cornelis Pietersz de Mooy Netherlands, 1656–1702 Peasants Skirmishing on a Jetty, with a Man-of-War Firing a Salute Offshore 1689. Oil on panel, 100.0 x 113.0 x 7.0 cm. Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth. Indonesia Churlish courtier, rod puppet [wayang klitik] 1931, Central Java. Wood, leather, pigment, gold leaf, horn, 53.0 cm (high including handle). d’Auvergne Boxall Bequest Fund 2013. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Abraham Van Den Hecken Netherlands, c.1615–c.1669 A scholar in his studio c.1655, The Hague (?). Oil on canvas, 121.8 x 106.7 cm. Gift of Kathy Booth, Anne Davidson, Dr Peter Dobson, Dr Michael Drew, Dr Michael Hayes, Peter McKee and Philip Speakman through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation Collectors Club 2012. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
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