Sneaker pimps

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This May, sneaker freakers will be scootin’ their way to the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) for a special trip down memory lane.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibition will examine the humble sneaker’s complex and fascinating social history, from its straitlaced origins in the mid-nineteenth century to its modern-day, freewheeling associations with urban culture.

On display will be shoes from the archives of Adidas, Converse, Nike and Puma, as well as those from private collectors such as legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC, sneaker aficionado Bobbito Garcia (aka: Kool Bob Love) and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Also featured will be artist and celebrity collaborations with major high-end fashion houses, including co-designs by Rihanna, Kanye West, Sophia Chang, Tom Sachs, Damien Hirst, Prada and Lanvin.

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Film footage, interactive media, photographic images, and design drawings will help to contextualise sneakers and explore their social history, technical innovations, fashion trends and marketing campaigns that have shaped sneaker culture over the past two centuries.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, AGWA will be hosting a one-off open house event, Sneaker Saturday, which will include music from WA DJs and local bands, a sneaker swapping session, skateboarding, dance, basketball and more. On top of all this, WA collector Lee Ingram and Gallery Curator Robert Cook will be on hand (or should that be on foot?) to provide insights into the exhibition and sneaker culture across the globe.

Coming to Australia after a stellar run in North America, this exhibition is sure to, well, blow your socks off!

One thing’s for certain (and for the sake of squeezing just one more pun in), sneakers really satisfy…  Chris Prindiville

 

‘The Rise of Sneaker Culture’ exhibition runs from May 13-September 4 at the Art Gallery of Western Australia | Free admission.

The ‘Sneaker Saturday’ event will take place on May 13 at AGWA | Free admission.

For more information visit www.artgallery.wa.gov.au.