Carried Away: Bags Unpacked

THU 13 JUN 2019 - SUN 1 DEC 2019

The bag reveals as much as it conceals.

Carried Away: Bags Unpacked showcases over 150 individual bags from Auckland Museum’s collection, many on display for the first time.

Every bag has a history, a story to tell – from haute couture fashion to cultural traditions. Bags can convey social standing, practical needs or be a statement of art.

From curious creations such as an albatross foot purse and bear gut bag with fur trim, to taonga imbued with Māori and Pacific cultural values such as kete and bilum, the exhibition explores the stories associated with their creation and the people who used them.

This exhibition is truly global with over thirty countries represented. Highlights include an inrō from Japan, a useful accessory for pocketless kimonos, to a leather handbag from England, that carries a 1800’s London Underground map. Iconic fashion designers Issey Miyake and Gianni Versace also make an appearance.

Ranging from 1750’s to today, the design, materials, and techniques used to create what are both everyday objects and unique pieces of art and design are on display.

Films tailormade for the exhibition delve into the different creations of bags and their owners. From leatherwork and weaving, to showcasing contemporary and traditional techniques, these films remind us of the people who once them and that bags are ubiquitous objects part of daily life.

Image: Handbag, 1970s. Purchased with funds provided by the Charles Edgar Disney Art Trust, Auckland Museum Collection: 1995.56.12 Auckland Museum CC-BY