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Past Exhibitions

Find out more about our previous exhibitions and art installations.

Discover past exhibitions

A Good Reputation Endures Forever

Exploring the role of the thousands of Chinese who risked their lives alongside the British forces during WWI. Image: WJ Hawkings Collection, courtesy of John de Lucy.
Group of men from the Chinese Labour Corps crowd round for a photograph laughing and smiling.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Contemporary artist Alan O’Cain brings his trademark dark humour and provocativeness to an installation in our Thacker Gallery.
Part of art installation including an ancient Egyptian cat model, modern cat food tins, a photograph and the painted words ‘dust to dust’ on the background.

Beauty and Diplomacy: The Malcolm MacDonald Collections

Malcolm MacDonald’s collections at the Oriental Museum focus on beautiful objects from across Southeast Asia and his collection of Chinese ceramics spanning 4,000 years.
Temenggong Koh greeting Malcolm MacDonald © Palace Green Library, Durham University

The Art Studio Presents: Behind the Mask

The Art Studio is a Sunderland-based mental health charity that provides support to improve the lives of members through art.
Painting of an ancient Egyptian mummy mask on a blue background

Contemporary Wood-carved Netsuke

An international touring exhibition from the Japan Foundation showcasing contemporary works by living netsuke carvers in Japan.
Contemporary Wood-carved Netsuke

Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese Men's Fashion

A British Museum exhibition featuring a selection of delightfully detailed netsuke and other traditional Japanese male dress accessories.
Goldfish netsuke, early 1800s © Trustees of the British Museum

Guardians of the Silk Road's Heritage: Women of the mountains of Central Asia

This exhibition showcases the work of the professional artists and craftswomen who do so much to preserve and transfer traditional knowledge and skills.
Woman with woven rugs silk road exhibition

The Hills are High

An exhibition by curator/photographer Lauren Barnes, illustrating the everyday lives of South Koreans over the course of a year.
Seoraksan National Park, Gangwon, South Korea © Lauren Barnes

Homelands: Documenting Centuries of Cham Migration

In 2016, photographer James Sebright travelled around the South China Sea region, meeting Cham communities in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia.
Huixincun Village, Hainan, China, 2017 © James Sebright

In Pursuit of Elegance: Chinese Jades from the Arnhold Collection

An exhibition celebrating the elegance of Ming and Qing dynasty Chinese jades from the Arnhold collection of Chinese art.
A Chinese jade from the Arnhold collection of Chinese art

Interface Arts Presents 'East Meets West'

This exhibition showcases works influenced by both the Oriental Museum’s collections and Durham University’s contemporary Western Art collections.
Collage of works by different artists featured in the Interface Arts Exhibition

Khyal: Music and Imagination

Led by our Music Department, this multimedia exhibition brings together visual artists and musicians to explore diverse visual responses to Indian classical music.
Marwa, © Mahjabin Imam Majumdar, 2016, acrylic on canvas (detail). Inspired by a performance of Rag Marwa by Ranjani Ramachandran

Lu Xun's Legacy: Print Making in Modern China

An exhibition celebrating the extraordinary range and versatility of style, technique and aesthetic expression in modern Chinese prints.
Wood block print of a landscape with hills in the background, a river and fields in the foreground with people and machinery for harvesting, all in reds, yellow and brown colours.

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year, called the Spring Festival in China, is China's biggest and most important annual festival.
Ornament depicting a rat holding a ball and stood on a platform

Monogatari: The Art of Storytelling in Japanese Woodblock Prints

This exhibition highlights Japanese stories, real and fictional, and how they were told through the art of woodblock printing.
Two Japanese samurai on horseback face off against each other with their spears crossing. In the background a battle is taken place half hidden in dust and clouds.

Playing with Time

An exhibition celebrating the elegance of Ming and Qing dynasty Chinese jades from the Arnhold collection of Chinese art.
View into the kaleidoscope artwork that was part of the exhibition

Photographing Tutankhamun

This exhibition explores how photography turned Tutankhamun into a global sensation.
Tutankhamun face mask

Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing From 1970 to Now

A British Museum touring exhibition illustrating how artists experiment with the power of paper to express their ideas.
Artworks created by Durham Sixth Form Centre art students in response to the Pushing Paper Exhibition

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

This moving exhibition highlighted the devastation wreaked by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Remains of cathedral in landscape devastated by nuclear blast

Resilience within the Rubble

This photographic exhibition tells the story of the Kasthamandap, from its origins to its collapse to its renewal.
Saptabidhanottar, puja and prayer ceremony held to reanimate the site once post-earthquake work had been completed in December 2016

Scaling the Heights

Artists Stephen, Margaret and Kate Livingstone working with Dr Abbie Garrington of Durham University to recreate heroic Himalayan mountain climbs in miniature.
Two action men in mountaineering gear climbing along a shelf of books.

Silla Collection 100 Project

The Silla Collection 100 Project consists of 100 brooches inspired by traditional jewellery and accessories from the Korean Silla dynasty (57 BCE-935 CE).
Group of five brooches made from a copper-coloured metal in different shapes with stones set into them.

Taxila in Focus: 100 Years Since Marshall

This exhibition focuses on the ancient site of Taxila, around 32 kilometres from Pakistan’s federal capital, Islamabad.
Composite photograph showing stone structure with a man standing beside it. One half is an old back and white photograph, the other half is a modern colour image.

The Emperor's New Clothes: Transforming 19th Century Japan

An exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in Japan and the connections between Japan and the North East.
Relaxing amidst the Autumnal Foliage of a Garden by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1888

Things from Home

An exhibition of contemporary ceramics inspired by the experiences of international students, created by artist Katrin Moye.
Beef Noodles © Katrin Moye

Tradition and Transformation

This exhibition highlights the work of a group of contemporary miniature painters working in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Painting depicting a procession of people in traditional Indian costume, some walking, others riding a camel, elephants and horses. In the background are a series of buildings made from red or white stone and beyond that is a lake with buildings on stilts and hills in the far distance.

There was Light: Amunhotep III and his Dazzling Age

Using the collections of the Oriental Museum, this exhibition focuses on the family of Tutankhamun, particularly his father and grandfather.
Egyptian statue from Oriental Museum

Uterine Dreams: Sculptor, Heal Thyself

Inspired by two small objects from the Oriental Museum’s collections, the works in this installation focus on the uterus, and the distress caused by the loss of a child.
Front view and side view of a sculpture in white stone of a female nude torso, a piece of red coral is placed on the front where the uterus would sit in the centre is writing in a circle saying Uterine Dreams: sculptor heal thyself Sarah Danays

Voices: contemporary art and craft from the Middle East and North Africa

An exhibition celebrating the work of emerging contemporary artists and designers from the Middle East and North Africa recently acquired by the Oriental Museum.
photographic artwork