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Virtual Tour for Patron-Plus Members | Arts of the Pacific Islands and Australia


Oceanic, Post from a Ceremonial House, 1900–1950, wood, conus shells, and paint

Oceanic, Post from a Ceremonial House, 1900–1950, wood, conus shells, and paint, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Director’s Accessions Fund.

 

Oceanic, Male Spirit Mask, early 20th century, cane, rattan, cassowary feathers, mud, and paint, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Lester H. Smith in honor of Harry Cullen at “One Great Night in November, 1993.”  

MFAH members at the Patron level and above are invited on a virtual tour of the newly installed gallery for Arts of the Pacific Islands and Australia. This special tour is led by Chelsea Dacus, assistant curator of the Glassell Collections; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; and antiquities.

Live | Patron-Plus members may register here
Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 10 a.m. Central Time

The vast Pacific Ocean, which covers roughly one-third of the earth’s surface, contains thousands of islands occupied by diverse, indigenous peoples from the Pacific cultural areas of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, as well as Aboriginal Australia. They produce a range of exceptional art with a practical and spiritual significance that conveys stories of ancestors, voyaging, initiation, nature spirits, agriculture, social fertility, and power.

Sometimes called Oceanic, these works of art are typically characterized by the use of organic materials like bark, reeds, wood, shell, and feathers. Because of the ephemeral nature of organic media, most date only to the early- to mid-20th century. Abstraction of form gives many Pacific works of art a modern appearance that underscores their often deeply spiritual meanings.

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