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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 354

The MET : Gallery 354 : Melanesia

Art From Us, Museum Guide #584

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #584 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 354. Showcasing a collection of Melanesia.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Mask, from the late 19th – early 20th century.
  2. Ceremonial Board (Malu), from the 19th century.
  3. Grade Figure, from the early to mid 20th century.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #584

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #584.

The objects chose for today’s Museum Guide belong to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Collection of Melanesian objects and artefacts. Thus, they are rooted in the rich cultures of the region.

Exploring Melanesia

The islands of Melanesia are located in the Pacific ocean. The works housed in this particular gallery belong to the Australian region.

Melanesia consists of islands dotted in the shape of an arc. Starting with New Guinea, it extends ahead of the Solomon islands, and includes Fiji and other small islands. The region is separated from Polynesia by the Andesite Line, which is an area of volcanic activity. Much like Micronesia and Polynesia, this Melanesia had also historically been colonized by Western imperialists. Such colonization had brought about a breakdown of the systems of authority, trade as well as other socio-economic conditions that existed at the time.

It is fascinating to consider that this region has been captured by various different countries over time. Some of these colonizers include the Japanese, the Dutch, the British, as well as the Australians and Germans.

So whether you are interested in Melanesian culture pre-dating the region’s colonization, or the cultural marks that the colonizer left behind, we encourage you to visit the MET collection.


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