b 1414. New Ireland Art of the South Pacific
edited by Michael Gunn and Philippe Peltier
5 continents editions. 300 pp., paperback, 91/2 x 11 in. 139 colour ills. ISBN 88-7439-369-5. Co-edition with the Musée du quai Branly (Spring 2007) Exhibition Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis 15 October 2006 7 January 2007 Musée du quai Branly, Paris 3 April 8 July 2007 Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin 10 August 11 November 200 The exhibit and the catalogue that accompanies it are designed to offer a broad panorama of artistic expressions developed in New Ireland, a Pacific island northeast of Papua New Guinea in the Bismarck archipelago. The catalogue gives the wider public a chance to learn about lesser known works that are nevertheless of fundamental importance, from major museums of the world: the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the British Museum in London, the Australian Museum in Sydney, and the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin. The challenge this catalogue faces is primarily the desire to describe all artistic expressions of the multiple ethnic groups of New Ireland. The exhibit aims to highlight both the diversity and the aesthetic quality of the art, which is too often remembered only for the malagan objects used in rites to commemorate the dead, characterised by a virtuoso use of motifs and techniques. Each group follows cycles of ceremonies whose objects may be quite different from each other. While the north, in fact, is distinguished by cycles of malagan ceremonies, the south is distinguished by tubuan masks, associated with police actions or judicial acts. The publication will also include art objects from the islands off the northwest coast, which have their own rituals, with typical objects that celebrate the harvest or village festivals.
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