The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia presents the North American premiere of In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man: Contemporary Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea beginning in March. Here are five reasons we think you should go:
1. In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man will showcase North America’s most comprehensive collection of contemporary Sepik art for the very first time. It is a rare window into the visual culture of Papua New Guinea’s latmul people, located along the Sepik River, one of the largest river systems in the world.
2. The exhibit will feature 27 sculptural artworks created by upwards of 20 Sepik artists, each carved from wood and ornately decorated with paint, sago fiber, cowry shells, and cassowary feathers.
3. The exhibition will delve into the Sepik people’s economic, cultural, and spiritual connections to the river system through photographs and videos of the magnificent Sepik River, drawing attention to the logging and mining operations that pose environmental threats to the region. The most notable and immediate threat addressed in the exhibition will be that of the Frieda Mine, where excavation will begin even as the MOA exhibition opens.
4. Artworks in this exhibition were selected by Curator Dr. Carol E. Mayer, whose last exhibition at MOA, Paradise Lost (2013), was honoured with the prestigious BC Museums Association Achievement Award.
5. In preparing for this exhibition, Dr Mayer visited the Sepik region three times over the past ten years, a remarkably beautiful yet seldom visited area of the world.
In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man: Contemporary Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea runs at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC from March 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017. Visit http://moa.ubc.ca for more information.