14 Oct 2008

Pacific ethnological items on show as art in Australian National Gallery

8:36 pm on 14 October 2008

Art-work from around the Pacific described as magical and an inspiration to some of the world's greatest 20th century artists, is now showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

The 'Gods, Ghosts and Men' art exhibition features more than 70 items ranging from as old as 3 thousand years to as recent as four years, most of which have never been shown before.

The NGA Pacific arts curator, Crispin Howarth, says a lot of these art works are usually shown in museums as examples of ethnology and anthropology.

He says the art gallery is trying to remove those shackles and biases.

"We have shields from West Papua, small masks which belonged to these western artists. We purchased them from them because they were the things that excited the Western artists, influenced them. But now we've come full circle and we're able to put these things out so these things can influence another generation of artists here in Australia and hopefully visiting Pacific artists."

The art-works, mainly chosen for their use at religious events and festivities will be on display until January 11th next year.