News & Media Centre

One Day Conference on Asian Art and Ireland at the National Museum of Ireland - Saturday 14th November.

11th November 2009

The National Museum of Ireland is hosting a 1-day conference on Saturday 14 November that explores in depth some of the themes touched on in the National Museum’s permanent exhibition of Asian Art, A Dubliner’s Collection of Asian Art: The Albert Bender exhibition.

The conference programme consists of a series of talks covering such diverse topics as the influence of Buddhism in Ireland and the iconography of Arhats.

Dr Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum commented “I look forward to seeing the National Museum’s glorious Bender Collection of Asian Art getting the learned scrutiny and attention it so richly deserves. Albert Bender should be regarded as a national hero”.

The conference is for anyone with an interest in decorative arts & design, material culture, art & design history, including those working in these areas as practitioners, educators or students.

For further press information please contact:

Maureen Gaule

Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 - 648 6429 Mobile: 087 281942

Speakers on the day will include the following key people;

Dr Patrick F. Wallace

Dr Wallace has been the Director of the National Museum of Ireland for more than twenty-two years. Before that, he was the archaeologist in charge of the National Museum’s excavations of the Viking Age site at Wood Quay, Dublin. He is well known as a lecturer and has made several radio and television programmes. He has also lectured widely outside Ireland, notably at the National Geographic in Washington. In recognition of his work, he was awarded with a Knighthood by the Queen of Denmark. He is an honorary member of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Audrey Whitty

Audrey Whitty is curator of Ceramics, Glass and Asian collections at the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History and curator of the exhibition, ‘A Dubliner’s Collection of Asian Art: The Albert Bender exhibition’ which opened at the National Museum in November 2008. She is currently completing her doctorate at Trinity College Dublin on the Albert Bender donations of Far Eastern Art to the National Museum in the context of his cultural interests in Ireland and California, and is author of the forthcoming catalogue on the Albert Bender Collection.

Yvonne Altman O’Connor

Yvonne Altman O’Connor has spent many years living in the US, in the San Francisco Bay Area where she first came in contact with Albert Bender’s collections at the Asian Art Museum. Yvonne is currently engaged in research and writing and works with the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. Her talk at this conference will look at the Bender family, their origins and the Jewish community of Dublin in which they lived.

Dr Michael Ryan

Dr Michael Ryan is an archaeologist and Director of the Chester Beatty Library. He is a former President of the Royal Irish Academy, Chairman of the Discovery Programme and Honorary Professor of Art History and Honorary Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin. Formerly Keeper of Irish Antiquities in the National Museum of Ireland, he is the author of numerous research articles and editor of several books on archaeological topics. He is co-author with Frank Mitchell of Reading the Irish Landscape. He is a member of the Executive Committee of ASEMUS, the Asia-Europe Foundation museum network, and Chair of ICOM-Ireland.

Debra Bowden

Debra Bowden is a qualified printmaker whose work has been exhibited broadly in Ireland. In

2006 Bowden became the first Irish artist to be awarded a scholarship to Awaji Island in Japan, to train with master Japanese woodblock printmakers. Her presentation will focus on how her practice is influenced by Japanese art, in particular Ukiyo-e, and will include a practical carving and printing demonstration.

Ruth Starr

Ruth Starr devised and presents the Arts of Japan course at Trinity College, Dublin and she also lectures widely on the subject. Ruth’s research interests include the Japanese influence of Eileen Gray’s (1878-1976) lacquer work and Japonisme in nineteenth century Ireland. Starr will present a paper on the impact of Japanese art and design on nineteenth and twentieth century Irish artists.

Dr John Clarke

Dr John Clarke is the curator of Himalayan Collections of the Asian Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Dr Clarke gained a PhD on the subject of traditional Tibetan metalworking at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 1995 and has written many articles on this subject. In his talk Dr Clarke will give an overview of Thangka painting - its origins, techniques and historical development – as well as focusing in on depictions of the Arhats, the disciples of Buddha.

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