Realms of Wonder is the Art Gallery’s first major exhibition dedicated exclusively to the art of India. It includes more than two hundred paintings, sculptures, textiles and decorative art objects dating from the eighth century to the present day. Many of the works in this exhibition are on display for the first time. Jain art has never before been comprehensively displayed in Australia.
Realms of Wonder features art inspired by the three great spiritual traditions of India – Jainism, Hinduism and Islam – and includes work from the Gallery’s collection and from private collections.
The emphasis on worldly renunciation in the Jain religion inspired calming images of meditating Jinas and delicate hand-drawn illuminated religious manuscripts. With its well-known and iconic images of Siva performing the cosmic dance that balances creation and destruction. Hinduism perhaps most extensively defines the art of India. Muslim artists excelled in the production of decorative arts, and the exhibition features a seventeenth-century inlaid marble panel produced in one of the workshops that decorated the Taj Mahal.
The exhibition also includes some of the very first acquisitions of Indian art by the Gallery.