France: Paris

A - Map of Sepik Valley

WHEN: October 27, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Sepik Valley coverSEPIK: Arts from Papua New Guinea

The first exhibition in France to be devoted to the arts of the peoples of the River Sepik in Papua New Guinea, this exhibition brings together 230 works from its own collections and from those of 18 European museums.

The Sepik is the longest river in Papua New Guinea. It is situated in the north of the island and covers a distance of 1,126 kilometers before it discharges into the Pacific Ocean. Large swampland, since the first millennium B.C. this area has sheltered peoples who live on the banks of or in areas close to the Sepik River and its tributaries. These societies have evolved in a world where every object lends itself to being sculpted, engraved or pictorially represented by animal and human figures or abstract motifs.

Sculptures, hooks, necklaces made up of pearl oyster shells, slit drums, bamboo flutes, wickerwork headdresses, coconut bowls, panels of painted bark, modeled-over skulls, whether they belong to the everyday or appear during ceremonies, are adorned with images or signs linked to nature and ancestral figures either human or animal.

B - Canoes - Sepik Valley

The exhibition conjures up the setting of a traditional village with public spaces open to everyone and majestic homes built on alleyways accessible only to the initiated. In an immersive scenography, the exhibition leads to the discovery of major figures of ancestors and allows visitors to apprehend the multiple forms and variations under which the ancestors manifest themselves.

The exhibition presents the results of 35 years of research led by Philippe Peltier, Markus Schindlbeck and Christian Kaufmann. The pieces presented were chosen for their formal qualities and their ethnographic interests. Some of them are icons of the art of the Sepik. They all demonstrate the great diversity of forms developed and materials used by the inhabitants of the river banks.

C - Hook

In the Sepik, the social organization of the villages requires the women to live strictly separated from the men. In an area reserved for the men, ancestors are omnipresent and appear during ritual ceremonies only accessible to the initiated.

In order to appreciate the density of this world shared between sky and water, the exhibition curator chose to enable visitors to discover the close relations maintained by the inhabitants of the valley with the world of spirits and of their ancestors.

In an immersive scenography guiding the visitor through a village, this exhibition lets us see and understand this unique social organization.




Published by on October 2015. Filed under At the Museums dept, Global, News (Time related), Palette News Arts Network/PNAN. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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