"Ancestors & Rituals" at BOZAR
Europalia 2017 opened in Brussels with a wonderful exhibition entitled "Ancestors & Rituals” and on view until January 14, 2018 at BOZAR. This year, the European festival puts the spotlight on Indonesia, its aim being to explore new perspectives on "the other" and on oneself through the arts. With this exhibition devoted to the particular forms of ancestral cults in Indonesia, the challenge is met!
Indonesia, the fifth largest country in the world, has a myriad of cultures: 255 million inhabitants, 300 ethnic groups and more than 700 languages. Despite this diversity, these cultures share one thing in common: the importance they ascribe to ancestors. The exhibition "Ancestors & Rituals" explores the three crucial functions relating to the past, present and future that ancestors fulfil in Indonesia. The first is to serve as a direct link between the Indonesians and their past. Indeed, it allows the living to claim a social position. The second is to be the guarantors of a social harmony and the third is to be a source of fertility.
The exhibition also focuses on the exchanges that have influenced the cultures of Indonesians over time. It presents 160 archaeological and ethnographic treasures illustrating the rituals around these three stakes: status, protection and fertility. Finally, it invites the visitors to consider the relationship we have with our ancestors and rituals in our western societies.
For more info please visit: www.bozar.be
"Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation" at the Gilcrease Museum
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Cherokee leaders embarked on a strategy to facilitate government-to-government relations by creating institutions comparable to those of the United States. These advancements were bolstered by widespread literacy that came about with the 1821 introduction of the Cherokee writing system, called the Sequoyah Syllabary. Despite these adaptive efforts, in 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the forceable removal of 46,000 Native Americans from their ancestral lands. Within the decade, some 15,000 Cherokee were compelled by the military to move from their homelands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). The journey west was arduous, with the very old and very young suffering the most. Hundreds died along the way. Despite this seemingly impossible situation, the Cherokee put down new roots and thrived in this new environment. Through art, material culture, and manuscripts, "After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation" at the Gilcrease Museum, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tells the story of resilience in the face of extreme adversity and the rebirth of the Cherokee Nation.
Africa/Americas: Photographic Portraits
"Africa/Americas: Photographic Portraits by Pierre Verger" presents thirty-two striking black-and-white images by renowned French photographer and anthropological researcher Pierre Verger (1902–1996). It is the first solo museum exhibition of Verger’s work in the United States. Verger traveled extensively during his prolific career, and Africa/Americas includes photographs from the Republic of Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Nigeria, Suriname, and the United States. However, his central focus was the exploration of enduring continuities linking peoples and cultures of West Africa and the African Diaspora. Over the course of five decades, he took an estimated 65,000 photographs with his Rolleiflex camera, depicting individuals and groups in humanistic, light-drenched portraits. His approach to photography placed great emphasis on the beauty of the human form as encountered in scenes of everyday life.
“NATIVE FORESTS”, Arts of Atlantic Equatorial Africa
This exhibition will feature 322 works by different peoples dating from the 17th through the beginning of the 20th century. It will be the largest group of masterpieces and archetypal artworks from Atlantic Equatorial Africa ever shown together. The exhibition tells the story of the migrations and displacements of the peoples in this area that had been ongoing since the 14th century, essentially following a north-to-south path. It presents the major style groups in four sections: the north, east, central, and south portions of Atlantic Equatorial Africa.
The title, Native Forests, refers to the immense equatorial forest, irrigated by networks of rivers and swamps, that constitutes the unique natural and geographic environment from which the works shown originate. This is the cradle of the creative impulse that rests on a shared conception of the universe and of man, inherited from the Bantu tradition and expressed in a diversity of representations that occur as two object types: figures and masks.
Through the works it presents, Native Forests explores artistic correspondence and evolution by defining the main recognizable and recurring styles of the arts of the peoples of this region. Works that defy regional stylistic categorizations and that display distinctive and specific qualities are emphasized in order to underscore the notion of fluidity and the importance of external influences and the dynamic history arising from contacts and exchanges between the different peoples of the region.
This exhibition brings together a variety of objects from the Americas in national French museum collections. It was conceived of as a typical traditional North American potluck—a meal to which everyone contributes. Since the earliest days of contact, the New World captured the imagination of Europeans, and French museums have vast quantities of drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, photographs, and posters that attest to this fascination. The new Americas section of the Galerie des Continents, which is the venue for the Potluck exhibition, is born of a close collaboration between the Muséum de Rouen and the autochthonous communities whose works are in its collection. Representatives of the Osage community in the United States and of the Kayapo of Amazonia in Brazil selected works they found interesting. They then explained the cultural symbolic meanings of the objects they chose. A traditional dress illustrates the woman’s place among the Osage, for example, while a Kayapo artist’s paintings of geometrical forms actually are symbolic representations of animals. On view through January 21, 2018, at the Muséum de Rouen. For more info please visit: http://museumderouen.fr.
"Golden Kingdoms" at the Getty Center
This major international loan exhibition at the Getty Center will explore the idea of luxury in the Pre-Columbian Americas, particularly as seen in the associations between materials and meanings, from about 1000 BC until the arrival of Europeans in the early sixteenth century. Titled "Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas", the show will trace the development of metallurgy in the Andes and its expansion northward into Mexico. In contrast with other parts of the world, ancient Americans first used metal not for weaponry, tools, or coinage but for objects of ritual and ornament, which resulted in works of extraordinary creativity. In addition to objects of gold and silver, the exhibition will feature artworks made from shell, jade, and textile, materials that would have been considered even more valuable than noble metals. The exhibition will cast new light on the most precious works of art from the ancient Americas and provide new ways of thinking about materials, luxury, and the visual arts in a global perspective. The exhibition is co-organized with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which will present the exhibition following its showing at the Getty.
The Rivet Generation
The Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac is honoring the central role played by Paul Rivet (1876–1958) in the institutionalization of French ethnology through a special exhibition titled "Ethnologues, missions et collections dans les années 1930" (Ethnologists, Missions, and Collections in the 1930s) in the Atelier Martine Aublet. Between 1928 and 1938, the field of ethnology became an independent discipline, and during this tumultuous decade, it spearheaded a new humanism. Rivet was a vital part of this process and did everything in his power to train a new generation of ethnologists. This homage to him will be on view until January 28, 2018.
Six Hundred Years of Receptacles: Tableware Through the Ages
Founded in 1977, the Barbier-Mueller Museum is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. To mark it, the institution is presenting a special exhibition featuring a hundred works of varied provenances, periods, and cultures drawn from its collection. Six Thousand Years of Receptacles: Tableware Through the Ages was the brainchild of Michel Butor. The late French author selected each object according to the role that its shape suggested to him. He then wrote a short poem for each object. These objects, sometimes masterpieces, now serving as ambassadors for cultures around the planet, are set in dialog with vases by contemporary Western artists. Each is a reflection of the aesthetic criteria prevailing in the culture from which it comes. The ritual or ceremonial contexts in which the pieces were used are also explored. The breadth's exhibition is a fitting tribute to the museum’s founder, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, who recently left us.
A Bit na Ta
The Melbourne Museum in Victoria features "a Bit na Ta" (The Source of the Sea), a multimedia show featuring photographs, videos, and objects relating to the Tolai people of Blanche Bay in Papua New Guinea. The exhibition emphasizes this people’s capacity for resilience, since over the course of the century between 1875 and 1975, they endured colonization, war, volcanic eruptions, and the struggle for independence. It also explores their spiritual practices, especially the role of the Tubuan secret society, which continues to be a vital part of Tolai everyday life, particularly with regard to their relationship with the environment, resources, and the members of the community. The event is the fruit of a longstanding collaboration between Tolai singer George Mamua Telek and musician composer David Bridie, and together they have created a highly symbolic audiovisual installation that blends images, music, sound, and stories. The exhibition also features works by contemporary Tolai artist Lisa Hilli.
Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire
This fascinating exhibition reveals ever-before-seen archaeological discoveries made by researches from all over the world working at Teotihuacan’s main pyramids—the Sun Pyramid, the Moon Pyramid, and the Feathered Serpent Pyramid— and that have fundamentally changed our understanding of the city’s history. It surveys these findings to illustrate the roles that objects and sculptural programs at these central locations played in the lives of Teotihuacan’s citizens. It also examines life in the urban and suburban residential sectors, where artisans created powerful works of art whose themes tied directly to the urban architecture that was carefully planned by the city’s ruling elite.
It was carried out in close collaboration with archaeologists from Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) as well as with experts from the United States and Europe. Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire will also be presented at the Los Angeles County Art Museum from March 25 to July 15, 2018.
Want to know more? Discover in Tribal Art magazine 85 the article of Matthew H. Robb about this wonderful exhibition.