Voyages Through Asmat Art

Selections from the American Museum of Asmat Art at the University of St. Thomas

Date & Time:

Monday, June 3, 2019
9:00 AM - 11:59 PM
June 2 - December 1, 2019


Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport
Thomson Reuters Gallery
Located in Lindbergh Terminal 1: Concourse C

The Asmat people, who live on a vast coastal plain on the southwest coast of the island of New Guinea in modern day Indonesia, are renowed as among the finest and most prolific wood sculptors in the Pacific Islands. The exhibition features 50 of the nearly 3,000 traditional and contemporary objects from the collection, several of which will be on display for the first time outside their permanent home at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The American Crosier Fathers and Brothers, under the leadership of Bishop Alphonse Sowada, began acquiring this collection in 1958 through purchase, trade, and as gifts while serving as Catholic missionaries in the region. In 2007, the University of St. Thomas became the home of the American Museum of Asmat Art collection. It is now one of this country's preeminent teaching collections, used by undergraduate and graduate students in the Art History and Museum Studies programs at the University to share with the community the common humanity of global peoples through art.

Curated by Art History Master's alumna Floris Lafontant ('18) with the assistance of graduate alumni Gretchen Burau ('16) and Amy Mickelson ('11) and current Art History graduate students Molly McIntosh, Taylor Menendez, and Sam Wisneski, Voyages Through Asmat Art tells the story of a living culture still making art as part of their everyday routines and rituals.

This exhibition is supported by the SOLV initiative, a University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences think tank that brings together students, faculty, and community members to move the arts and humanities beyond the university walls and into the community we serve for the common good. We also thank our partner, the MSP Airport Foundation and the ARTS @MSP program, for their extraordinary assistance in this endeavor.


Image: Crocodile Carving, Artist Unknown, 1978, Asmat people, Safan region, Santambor village, Wood, paint, Gift of the American Crosier Fathers and Brothers (AMAA 0648)

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