< Bowl with two figure supports (detail) (Mid-late eighteenth century; Wood, pearl shell, boar's tusks. HAW 46, British Museum) (image source)
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts presents a comprehensive exhibition from its Pacific collection with Pacific Encounters: Art and Divinity in Polynesia 1760-1860, opening May 21, 2006, and on view until August 13, 2006.
In Pacific Encounters, for the first time, important Polynesian material from British and other collections will be brought together for a major exhibition which will substantially extend appreciation of one of the world's great art traditions. Presenting rare and visually stunning god-images, sculptures, ornaments, textiles and valuables to a wide audience, this exhibition will explore Polynesia during the early period of contact with European voyagers, missionaries and settlers.
> Feathered head (late 18th century; feathers, basketry, fibre, dog canine teeth, pearl shell, wood. HAW 80, British Museum) (image source)
Over 250 objects will be on display, including major sculptures in wood and stone, feather and basketry images, feather cloaks, wooden bowls, decorated bark cloths, ornaments and valuables of ivory, shell, bone and nephrite, and other ritual items such as fly whisks, fans and drums. These objects represent the major regions of Polynesia - Society Islands, Austral Islands, Cook Islands, Marquesas Islands, Hawaii, Easter Island, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Steven Hooper, Director of the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, University of East Anglia, on behalf of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and in collaboration with the British Museum.
British Museum Press will be publishing a fully illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition.