The first exhibition in France to be devoted to the arts of the peoples of the River Sepik in Papua New Guinea, this exhibition at the musée du quai Branly 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 disharges 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, modelled-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.
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.
SEPIK. Arts from Papua New Guinea
October 27th 2015 – January 31st 2016