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The Rise of Sneaker Culture

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More than 150 rare and iconic sneakers are coming to Perth

After popular showings in Toronto, Brooklyn and Atlanta, the international exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture heads to AGWA for its only Australian presentation.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world.

On display are shoes from the archives of Adidas, Converse, Nike and Puma, as well as private collectors such as legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia (Kool Bob Love) and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Also featured are sneaker collaborations between celebrities, artists and high-end fashion houses, including Kanye West, Damien Hirst, Prada, and Lanvin.

Among the shoes on display are an 1860s spiked running shoe, an original 1923 Converse All Star/Non Skid, a pair of 1936 track shoes, the original Air Force 1, and early Adidas Superstars. Also featured is a complete presentation of Air Jordans I–XX3 on loan from the Kosow Sneaker Museum.

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


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in the show

Images and content thanks to the American Federation of Arts and Bata Shoe Museum.

For more on The Rise of Sneaker Culture head to  


Sneaker Saturday | FREE

10am-5pm, Saturday 13 May

Join us for one big sneakerfest celebration with music, basketball and skateboarding demos. Stay tuned for celeb drop-ins, plus WA collector, Lee Ingram, and AGWA Curator, Robert Cook, will be in the Gallery. And of course, it's your first chance to view the international exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture. READ MORE


guru Guided TOURS | FREE

2pm, Wednesday Sunday

Just for kicks, join one of our fab Guru Guides for a short introduction to the world of sneakers.

book your place

Bookings not essential, but priority is given to those who have reserved their place.



5 April – 29 May: Lee Ingram

31 May – 17 July: Highs and Lows (Matt Thomas)

19 July – 4 September: WA Collective

We kick off the SNEAKERHEADS season with a look at Sneakerhead-in-Residence, Lee Ingram's, world-famous collection of ASICS. Drop by 5 April through to 29 May 2017 to check out his collection. READ MORE


Many galleries have ‘artists-in-residence’ but AGWA is the first major art gallery in the world to have a Sneakerhead-in-Residence – the one and only, Perth-born, Lee Ingram. Lee's contributions to the SNEAKERHEADS season at AGWA are key, including a loan from his massive collection for two special displays, and a magnificent colour 'sneakerlier' hanging installation between the ground and first floor of the Gallery.

As AGWA’s Sneakerhead-in-Residence, aside from participating in the exhibition program as the first WA artist and collector to be unveiled, Lee will run panel discussions, special talks, participate in Curtin University's design course on the development of the WA Sneaker, and MC at Sneaker Saturday on 13 May. He is also working with iconic sneaker retailer, Highs and Lows, on a special range of merch that will be available in a new pop-up shop at AGWA from 13 May.



Organised by                                                                                                    Major Partner for presentation at AGWA

American Federation of Arts logo     Bata Shoe Museum logo                              Act Belong Commit logo      Healthway logo


The Rise of Sneaker Culture is organised by the American Federation of Arts and the Bata Shoe Museum.
The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum.

Coordinating Curator, Robert Cook, AGWA Curator of Contemporary Design and International Art.



Curtin University logo      Department of Sport & Recreation        Fashion Council logo        Hights and Lows logo        West Australian Music logo



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