A special exhibition of artwork from Papua New Guinea will be displayed Tuesday, Sept. 3, through Friday, Sept. 27, at Missouri Southern State University’s Spiva Gallery.
“Oceania Journey” features works from Papua New Guinea, the second largest island in the world.
The island features diverse geographies and is so rugged that many villages are isolated from each other to the point that more than 700 languages are spoken across the island of about 11 million people. These language communities often have their own distinct cultural and artistic traditions.
The exhibit showcases artifacts reflecting regional styles and complements them by exploring the power of newer, national arts to inspire unity and progress rooted in local ways of living. It includes a selection of engaging ritual and everyday objects including bilum (string) bags, ceremonial bowls, figures and rattan masks.
A reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, in the gallery. Prior to the reception, Dr. Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris will present “The Land of 700+ Cultures: The Art of Papua New Guinea.”
Lewis-Harris is the former director of the Connecting Human Origin and Cultural Diversity program and associate professor of anthropology and the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has published numerous works on African American, Papua New Guinean and West African artists, and her presentation will contextualize the works on display.
The Spiva Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission to the gallery and the presentation are free and open to the public.
Funding support for the exhibit was provided by the Institute of International Studies, the Hyde Foundation, UMB, and the estate of Mildred Marshall. Object loan is courtesy of the Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.