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Saris, skateboards and Ai Weiwei among 2023 program highlights at the Design Museum

Jeremy Lim
28 September 2022

Skateboards, saris and the very first design exhibition by Ai Weiwei are among the highlights of the 2023 exhibition programme at the Design Museum.

The radical reinvention of India’s traditional sari will be mapped in a landmark ‘The Offbeat Sari’ exhibition on the garment from 19 May 2023 to 17 September 2023.

Curated by the Design Museum’s Priya Khanchandani, the exhibition will unravel the sari’s numerous forms, "demonstrating the sari to be a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today".

The exhibition will also share how young people in cities, who used to associate the sari with 'dressing up', can now be found wearing saris and sneakers on their commutes to work. Some individuals also wear the sari as "an expression of resistance to social norms and activists are embodying it as an object of protest".

Globally renowned artist Ai Weiwei will also present his work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values.

The Skateboard exhibition exploring the evolution of the skateboard and its impact on the design world will run from 20 October 2023 to 25 February 2024. Curated and designed by the industrial designer and skater Jonathan Olivares, the exhibition will showcase innovative skateboards and components, alongside skate photography and video, complete with original soundtracks.

The first museum display exploring the work of artist and designer Yinka Ilori is currently running at the Design Museum until summer 2023. The free display highlights some of the most important aspects of Ilori’s work.

Tim Marlow, Director and Chief Executive, Design Museum said: "With saris, skateboards and a spellbinding show by Ai Weiwei, 2023 is going to be one of the most ground-breaking of years in recent memory at the Design Museum. As the world’s leading museum of contemporary design, we are uniquely placed to explore these compelling global stories which highlight the sometimes playful but invariably decisive role of design in so many
aspects of our lives.

"We’re delighted that Ai Weiwei will present his first major design-focussed exhibition here at the Design Museum. He is clearly one of the most important artists in the world, but his practice also profoundly embraces design and architecture and the cultural and political impact of his work will resonate in very different ways throughout this collaborative landmark exhibition."

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