Transition and Contemplation: Asmat Art and the Cycle of Life

Transition & Contemplation: Asmat Art and the Cycle of Life

Fall 2015 Exhibit

Date & Time:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
September 2nd - December 22nd, 2015


The Gallery, Anderson Student Center

From birth, to death, and beyond, Transition and Contemplation: Asmat Art and the Cycle of Life examines how Asmat art forms both commemorate, and cause individuals and communities to reflect upon, the transitional events in their lives.

Many of the most important and best-known forms of Asmat art are created to mark and help bring about major transitions in the cycle of the lives of individuals and groups within the community.  Among the Asmat, these art forms customarily focused primarily on two key moments in an individual’s life: initiation rites, marking the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and funerary ceremonies, marking the transition from death to the afterlife. To these, contemporary artists have added other subjects, such as birth. Times of feasting and celebration, mourning and anticipation, death and the renewal of life, these life transitions are also times of reflection on, and contemplation of, the individuals whose lives they mark and on the ever renewing cycle of life that sustains the community.  Drawn from the AMAA’s collection, the exhibition will include both customary art forms, such as body masks, ancestor (bis) poles, and soul canoes (wuramon) as well as contemporary narrative sculpture and other works that depict, or play a role in, commemorating and reflecting upon the transitions in, and supernatural renewal of, human life.

Curated by Dr. Eric Kjellgren, AMAA@UST Director
Assisted by Jennifer Smith and Elizabeth Madden, Art History Graduate Students

Reception: Friday, October 30th, 5-7 pm

Viewing Hours
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Friday
Noon. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Free and open to the public.

Parking is available in the Anderson Parking Facility, corner of Grand and Cretin Avenues.
Gallery location and parking directions:

The Gallery is handicap accessible. For accessibility requests: (651) 962-6315.

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.