One of the world's largest, undiscovered collections of early Japanese photography debuts at the Art Gallery of Alberta

    Hidden treasures of an Edmonton collector

    EDMONTON, April 1 /CNW/ - The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) announces that
it will host the world premiere of one of the great collections of early
Japanese photography. KOSHASHIN: The Hall Collection of 19th Century
Photographs of Japan will be on display April 4-June 7, 2009 at the AGA. This
exhibition will include over 230 photographs from 1860-1899 Japan.
    The extraordinary collection was lovingly and quietly developed over more
than forty years by Edmontonian Arlene Hall. The collection was brought to the
attention of AGA Chief Curator and Deputy Director Catherine Crowston when
Arlene Hall visited the Gallery's exhibition of contemporary Chinese art,
China Sensation in 2007.
    "Collecting these images is a labour of love that has spanned over forty
years", said Arlene Hall. "It began in June of 1967 with the wedding gift to
me of a small lacquered cover album of photographer Kusakabe, an early master,
from my new husband Edward Hall." Today there are over 800 images in the Hall
    The collection is particularly important because it captures a distinct
moment in Japanese history when the country was moving into the modern world,
changing from the shogunate rule of the Edo period to the restoration of the
Meiji imperial government. During the changing world of 19th century Japan,
the new medium of photography captured western perceptions of Japan and helped
to shape Japanese self-identity at a crucial moment in its history.
    The exhibition is organized by the AGA and curated by Catherine Crowston.
KOSHASHIN will travel to other museums across Canada when it leaves Edmonton.
A catalogue of the exhibition, published by the AGA, with an introduction by
internationally recognized expert in Japanese photography Terry Bennett, will
accompany the exhibition.
    Media are invited to attend the exhibition preview tour led by collector
Arlene Hall on Friday, April 3 at 6 pm, as well as the exhibition's opening
reception on Friday, April 3 from 7-9 pm.

    Promotional images, background and programming information are included
in the media kit.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: OKSANA GOWIN, Marketing &
Communications Manager, ART GALLERY OF ALBERTA, (780) 422-6223,,

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