Indepth Arts News: |
"Eighteenth Annual New Guinea Asmat Art Festival to Get Underway"
1999-10-11 until 0000-00-00
Festival of Asmat Art and Culture
Agats, Irian Jaya, ,
The eighteenth annual
Festival of Asmat Art and Culture is scheduled to begin on 11 October,
1999 in Agats, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Similar events in years passed
have enjoyed attendance by museum curators, anthropologists, art experts
and enthusiasts from around the globe.
The Asmat inhabit the swampy jungles of the southwest coast of New
Guinea. Having limited but increasing contact with western cultures
during recent years, they continue to practice many of their traditional
customs. The Asmat are recognized internationally for their rich and
powerful wood sculpture, which has provided influence to western artists
including Picasso, Chagall and Mattisse.
The creations of first prize recipients at the Festival will join the
permanent collection of the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress and
several hundred of the finest works will be sold at auction to the
highest bid. The Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress was established
at Agats in 1973 with a mission to provide the Asmat a venue for the
preservation of their art, as well as, a place where new generations of
Asmat could study their cultural past.
Salt Lake curator and Asmat art expert Steven Chiaramontewill once again
be traveling to the remote jungle area to attend the annual Festival and
Art Auction. Chiaramonte has studied extensively among the Asmat people
and the Chiaramonte Collection of Asmat Art is among the largest
private collections in North America. In recent years Chiaramonte has
curated three exhibitions at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on campus at
the University of Utah. The most recent exhibition Ambassadors from
the Jungles Edge featured six Asmat wood carvers who traveled to Utah
earlier this year, presenting a dynamic program describing their art and
culture. More than 400 people attended this once in a lifetime event
in Salt Lake City. Numerous objects from the Chiaramonte Collection
remain on exhibit at the Museum, several of which have joined the
Museums permanent collection.
A respected expert on Asmat art, Chiaramonte has been again invited to
serve on an international jury charged with evaluating more than two
thousand objects proposed by Asmat artists for inclusion in the Asmat
Museum of Culture and Progress. Four jurors will assess the artists work
in six style categories, awarding prizes to those judged the finest
representation of their intended style. Chiaramonte relates, The
Museum provides a near-perfect blend of art, ethnology and cultural
experience so very dear to the Asmat. Under the expert stewardship of
the Bishop Alphonse Sowada and Curator Yufentius Biakai, it provides a
catalyst for the Asmat, young and old alike, to find glory in their past
while encouraging the sustenance of their culture so vital to existence
in this difficult region.