Wednesday 5 April - Monday 4 September Various Times

Art Gallery of Western Australia

Audience: All Ages

Ticket Prices: Various

More information: Visit Website

Get your kicks ready to run, SNEAKERHEADS opens Wednesday 5 April as part of Culture Juice, the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s new contemporary culture series. Through collaborations with WAM plus Curtin University School of Design, the Department of Sport and Recreation, WA Fashion Council, iconic sneaker retailer Highs and Lows, the SNEAKERHEADS season lets audiences explore sneaker culture across design, sport, fashion and music.

Designed to accompany the international exhibition, The Rise of Sneaker Culture originating at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and organised by the American Federation of Arts (opening Saturday 13 May at AGWA), SNEAKERHEADS kicks off  with the first of three WA sneaker displays; ASICS- Lee Ingram, HAL – High and Low, and Electic Mix – Kat Murphy.

AWGA Sneakerhead approved


AGWA is the first major art gallery in the world to have a Sneakerhead-in-Residence – Perth-born, Lee Ingram. Lee’s contributions to the SNEAKERHEADS season at AGWA are key, including a loan from his massive collection of ASICS (the largest private collection in the world) 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, Lee will run panel discussions, special talks, participate 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 leading boutique sneaker retailer, Highs and Lows, on a special range of designed merchandise which will be available in a new pop-up shop at AGWA from 13 May.


5 April – 29 May: ASICS
With over 800 pairs of sneakers in his care, Lee Ingram is one of the most significant sneaker collectors in the country. He is currently a graphic design lecturer at Curtin University, and has designed shoes for ASICS among others.

31 May – 17 July: HAL
Sneaker retailer Highs and Lows (HAL) was established by Matt Thomas in 2005. Beginning with a store on Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley, there are now outlets in Perth City and Claremont. In addition to curating a world-class sneaker selection and experience for WA sneaker fans, HAL has produced high profile collaborations with major companies such as Reebok, ASICS and Adidas.

19 July – 4 September: ECLECTIC MIX
Kat Murphy is a life-time sneaker fan whose tastes include a love for velcro straps and sneaker bling (not always mutually exclusive). Based in Perth, she works around the country producing and managing arts events and festivals across a range of formats.

There’s a sneaker story to be told, and AGWA’s asking for yours.

Thanks to Singapore Airlines, you could win a trip for two to San Francisco, simply by sharing your favourite sneaker story via Instagram. It could be the pair that saw you travel around the world, fashion kicks that scored cred with your crew, or maybe the ones you were wearing when you took 3 for 6 at cricket. Sport, street, fashion, travel or work … if it’s your story, AGWA wants to hear it. To enter, simply submit a short video with #mysneakerstory.

The competition runs 10am, 5 April 2017 through to 5pm, 4 September 2017 (AWT).



SNEAKERHEADS School Holiday Fun
11am-4pm, Wednesday 19, Thursday 20 & Friday 21 April
Gold coin donation | Suitable for ages 6 and over

Visit AGWA in the April school holidays and celebrate the start of the SNEAKERHEADS season. Put together your own custom decorated cardboard sneaker and add it to the sneaker display.

Sneaker Saturday
10am-5pm, Saturday 13 May | FREE

An open house event celebrating the first day of The Rise of Sneaker Culture, including music from WA DJs and bands, sneaker swap, skateboarding and urban dance, sneaker tours, basketball and much more. AGWA’s sneakerlier will be revealed, plus WA collector, Lee Ingram, and AGWA Curator, Robert Cook, will be in the Gallery for insights into the exhibition and sneaker culture across the world.

Curtin University School of Design
March – September

Curtin University is working with AGWA on two innovative design unit collaborations. Students will participate in an open classroom in AGWA’s Imagination Room, have behind-the-scenes access to AGWA, and complete design projects including designing a new sneaker accessory.

13 May – 4 September

Celebrated sneaker retailer, Highs and Lows, sets up shop at AGWA in an exciting retail collaboration which will see limited edition AGWA / HAL merchandise released, plus some super cool sneaker-related events to be announced.


The Rise of Sneaker Culture
Opening Saturday 13 May 2017 | FREE

The heart of SNEAKERHEADS is The Rise of Sneaker Culture. Originating at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto and organised by the American Federation of Arts, The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first museum exhibition in North America, and now in Australia, to examine the sneaker’s complex and fascinating social history. From its origins in the mid-nineteenth century to its role in the present day as a status symbol of urban culture.

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 them 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.

“Sneakers have moved from sport to street to being a worldwide cultural icon of self-expression. The Gallery is excited to bring the international exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture to Australia and also celebrate the passion, knowledge and prized collections of WA sneakerheads.” – AGWA Director, Stefano Carboni

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.



Featured image courtesy of American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum:
Stewie Griffin Lebron VI, 2009
Collection of Chad Jones