Celebrating Kanak culture
A new exhibition at Musée du quai Branly, Kanak: l’Art est une parole, 15 October 2013-26 January 2014, celebrates the Oceanic society’s artistic heritage, for centuries regarded by academic writers and mass media with skepticism, derision and revulsion.
The exhibition is the largest ever held on Kanak culture, bringing together more than 300 exceptional works and documents from public collections in Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland) and New Caledonia in the 2000 square meter Galerie Jardin.
It will feature many previously unseen and spectacular pieces, great traditional works from the world of Kanak art: wooden carvings from the Grand Huts, jade ceremonial axes, pole sculptures and a diverse selection of statuettes and ornaments.
“…We now display sublime art objects that were initially regarded as terrifying and revolting…how our view is shaped by the tide of history,” says an introduction to the exhibition.
Some 22 years after the exhibition De Jade et de Nacre, organised by the National Museums Alliance in Nouméa, then Paris, the Musée du quai Branly presents an exhibition based on information and collections of objects rarely seen in public, relying on new museographical data (an almost complete inventory of objects in public collections around the world, identified after 30 years of research), vernacular data (intangible Kanak heritage collected over 10 years) and data from anthropological and historical research.
The exhibition re-examines Kanak artistic heritage and is arranged in two sequences. The main sequence is entitled “the five faces” and features many examples of Kanak dialogue; the secondary sequence, entitled “reflections”, describes the evolution of the Western view of the Kanak world through a compilation of witness accounts.
Held under the patronage of French President François Hollande, the exhibition is curated by Emmanuel Kasarhérou, Head of the Overseas Section at the musée du quai Branly, former Director of the Agency for the Development of the Kanak Culture and of the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia and Roger Boulay, ethnologist, specialist in Oceanic culture. Buy a Link on this page