Oceanic Art and the Performance of Life

September 18, 2012 - May 24, 2013
Wilbur Room

"Oceanic" can refer to a wide variety of diverse cultures from Australia, Melanesia, New Guinea and other islands, and the art and material culture of these areas has been collected by the Fleming Museum since the 1890s. A major new gift of Oceanic objects was recently received from Dr. David Nalin. After researching these varied objects, the students from Museum Anthropology 250 are presenting their work with an exhibition examining them through the rubric of "performance." Funeral rites, warfare, and the rituals and traditions of everyday life are reflected in a variety of carefully and intricately created objects, from masks to textiles to weaponry. Kava ceremonies, hunting and fishing, shadow puppet performances and bungee jumping are all part of the performance of life in Oceanic cultures.