Oceanic Art: A Celebration of Form provides an insightful overview of art from the area commonly designated as Oceania. The essay and catalogue give a current perspective of Pacific cultures and their diversity and struggles within a colonial context, as well as a fresh view of these traditional and contemporary arts. Highlighting an exceptional gathering of diverse works that come primarily from Melanesia and Polynesia, the selection also includes object from Micronesia and Taiwan, among them a rare life-size sculpture from Nuku'oro in the Caroline Islands (Micronesia)-the only such figure in a private collection-as well as elaborate, hand-carved sculptures, exquisite architectural elements, and several striking figures from New Ireland and the Admiralty or Manus Islands, and rare Easter Island (Rapa Nui) carved figures.
Accompanying a year-long exhibition of the same name at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA), this publication features object from three major California collections; the world-renowned Valerie Franklin Collecting, the nationally acclaimed Edward and Mina Smith Collection, and the deep holdings of the Sana Art Foundation. The variety of three-dimensional objects, including sculptures, traditional adornments, weapons, and objects used in everyday life that are presented in this book are each encoded with cultural and social meanings, some of which still function within certain Oceanic cultures today. The objects are arranged in groupings that allude to their original uses, allowing the reader to contemplate the rich variety of contexts in which these beautifully crafted works of art functioned as part of daily life.
This volume inaugurates a multiyear project at SDMA to show the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas as part of its permanent collection galleries and publications. Oceanic Art: A Celebration of Formpays a handsome tribute not only to the collections it showcases but also to the wonderful works of art made by the women and men of Oceania, one of the most compelling and fragile parts of the globe.
The catalogue by George R. Ellis, is soft cover, 128 pages, and contains over 110 color illustrations. Forward by Derrick R. Cartwright, The Maruja Baldwin Director, San Diego Museum of Art, $25.00.