This exhibition presents extraordinary masks from the island New Ireland, part of Papua New Guinea, that residents performed in at funeral ceremonies to explore their cultural significance and collecting history connected to Maine.
At funeral ceremonies in the island New Ireland, part of Papua New Guinea, people performed wearing extraordinary masks. This exhibition explores the intersection of memory and ephemerality in such masks and cultural practices from New Ireland. It features nineteenth-century masks associated with these practices that Harold Sewall, U.S. Consul General to Samoa from Bath, Maine, donated to the Museum. The exhibition explores two lines of inquiry: the cultural significance and ephemeral qualities of masks associated with funerary ceremonies in New Irelandand the circulation of such objects beyond Oceania through collecting practices among Europeans and Americans.