Featured Resource: Brunei Gallery/SOAS
The Brunei Gallery is situated in the heart of London, a few minutes' walk from the British Museum, opposite the School of Oriental and African Studies building. The Gallery's Exhibitions Manager, John Hollingworth, says that, 'Our remit is really that the galleries within the Brunei Gallery Building are dedicated to promoting a better understanding of the art, culture, history and contemporary contexts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East through a programme of temporary visiting exhibitions and accompanying events - all of which are free - to a new and wider audience outside of the School's own community.'
For those unable to get to the physical gallery, or for anyone interested in art and its history, we've chosen the Gallery's website as our Website of the Month for April.As well as providing information and tasters of new exhibitions, such as the forthcoming 'The World in Monochromes' and 'Geometry, Illumination and Beyond' from 16 April to 20 June 2009, the highlight of the site must be the extensive archive of previous exhibitions dating back to 1996.
Historical exhibitions range from photographs of architecture from the Islamic world to royal Persian paintings, from the archaeology of Bahrain to architecture in West Africa. Modern exhibitions include contemporary art from Saudi Arabia, Africa, Morocco, Hong Kong, Malaysia and India.The exhibitions cover a range of disciplines: painting, sculpture, architecture, jewellery, photography, prints, drawings, dance, woodcarving and theatre design. Current issues are also explored in many of the exhibitions such as HIV ('Our Positive Bodies', 'Positive Lives: HIV'), genocide and survival in Rwanda, former child combatants in post-war Sierra Leone and global food shortages. Most of the exhibitions are illustrated and the website provides a starting point for further study of a number of artists, movements and curriculum subjects and John Hollingworth says that, 'where educational activities accompany or accompanied exhibitions, there are information and school worksheets to download,' – for example, The Bakhtiari: More Than Just Nomads, Treasures of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Royal Persian Paintings and Rupa Malaysia. In many instances, there are also links to external websites where further research can be pursued.
The physical gallery has a Japanese-influenced roof garden which is a public space for quiet contemplation. An added bonus of the website is that a video allows you to take a 3-D tour of that quiet, reflective space.