Friday, April 2, 2010

Art of the Pacific at the Bowers Museum

Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific, a new exhibition showcasing the traditional arts of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia opened at the Bowers Museum on February 20. The show will run through December 2010.

Featuring more than 150 tribal objects, Spirits and Headhunters vividly presents the complex and exquisite blend of artistic sensitivity and spiritual essence found in the art of the Pacific, strikingly suffused in each artifact the installation has to offer. Associated with the esoteric men's house of the Sepik River region, the works on display include shamanic items, beautifully crafted ornaments, weaponry, shell and feather currency, splendid feast bowls, and the most precious of human trophies––the human skull––taken in a spirit of retribution and reverence.

Photographer Chris Rainier guest curates this exhibition of art from the South Pacific. Spanning the geographic region collectively referred to as Oceania, this comprehensive exhibition highlights masterworks from the three cultural regions of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Particular focus is placed on New Guinea, land of the headhunter, and the rich artistic traditions infused into daily and ritual life. Submerge into a visually stunning world and come face to face with larger-than-life masks, finely crafted feast bowls, objects associated with the secretive Sepik River men’s house, beautiful shell and feather currency, magic figures and tools of the shaman, objects related to seagoing trade routes, gorgeous personal adornments, weapons of warfare and the most precious of human trophies taken in retribution.

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