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 used them and that bags are ubiquitous objects part of daily life.

Deaf Radio & Carried Away

Carried Away: Bags Unpacked also includes content for our visitors who are deaf or have hearing impairments. We have worked with Deaf Radio to translate key exhibition content into NZSL videos.

Throughout the gallery are QR codes, the visitor scans the code on their personal mobile device and is immediately directed to the translated content.

Image: Handwork bag by Vita Cochran, 2007. Auckland Museum Collection: 2007.112.1 All rights reserved


Detour: The Good, the Bag and the Ugly

If you don't know your chatelaine from your reticule or your inrō from your pōhā, we think it's time you joined us on this tour-with-a-difference as we pick apart the history, hysteria and hidden stories behind the bags in the exhibition.

Read more

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