USC Pacific Asia Museum

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46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
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Where Masks Still Dance:
Photographs of New Guinea
by Chris Rainier

February 17, 2002–April 28, 2002
Members' Opening Reception: 6–8pm, Sunday February 17, 2002

Gogodala Clan Racing Canoe
Gogodala Clan Racing Canoe
Chris Rainier

This rare exhibition, Where Masks Still Dance: Photographs of New Guinea by Chris Rainier, combines the photographs of New Guinea of celebrated photographer Chris Rainier with spectacular art objects from this Pacific island from the collection of USC Pacific Asia Museum's collection.

Photographer Chris Rainier travels the world documenting indigenous peoples as well as conflicts and wars, and his work has appeared in Life, Time, National Geographic, and other prestigious publications. From 1980 to 1985, Rainier worked as a photographic assistant to Ansel Adams. In eight trips over ten years to the island of New Guinea, comprised of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya (part of Indonesia), Rainier documented the traditional rituals, architecture, and costumes of many of the 1,000 or so distinct cultures inhabiting the island. Through his dramatic black and white photographs of New Guinea, he artfully captures the spirit of the people of this South Pacific island. His photographs not only illustrate the vibrancy of some of the world's lesser known cultures, but also paint a larger picture of the human spirit as a whole.

Canoe Board
Canoe Board,
Trobriand Islands, New Guinea. Early 20th century.
Wood, color pigments.
PAM Collection.
Gift of Harland Givelber.

To accompany this photography exhibit, several items from USC Pacific Asia Museum's impressive collection of art objects from New Guinea will be displayed. These remarkable objects, made of wood, shells, bone, and various other indigenous materials, are rarely exhibited at the museum due to limited gallery space. Rainier's photographs, in which many similar objects are depicted in their original setting, provide an ideal complement to these art works, some of which are being displayed for the first time at USC Pacific Asia Museum.

For more information about this exhibition, please contact (626) 449-2742, extension 19.

Related Festivals, Lectures, and Talks:

Saturday February 23, 11am Lecture
Oceanic Art

Michael Hamson
Visitors are invited to attend a slide lecture by Oceanic art dealer Michael Hamson. Mr. Hamson is a private dealer and has studied both African and Oceanic art history. He has made numerous trips to New Guinea. Michael will speak about the art of New Guinea and his travels in the area. Mr. Hamson will focus particularly on the aesthetics and power of images used in the art objects.

Saturday March 16, 1-4pm Family Festival
Pacific Island Festival
of Masks
1:30pm Lecture
We are pleased to host Chris Rainier, acclaimed photographer of Where Masks Still Dance, who will speak about his experiences with the peoples of New Guinea and his many travels. Visitors may participate in an Asmat shield making workshop. Children may try their hand at tattoo painting and of course, mask making. Pacific Island music and dance will be featured and a sampling of traditional foods will be available.
This event is free to the public.

Friday March 22, 6:30-8pm Lecture
Music and Dance Traditions of Papua New Guinea

Mark Eby and Robert Reigle
The music of Papua New Guinea remains virtually unknown outside of the island nation but ranges from traditional repertoires with unique instruments, complex stories, and sacred sounds, to modern popular and Christian songs. Music is inseparable from dance in the country, and the Tok Pisin word for music, "singsing" includes both dance and song. This lecture will present a brief sampling of the wide variety of New Guinean traditional musics. Robert Reigle spent three years living in Madang Province. He studied the sacred music concerned with the "tambaran" spirits and taught ethnomusicology at the University of Papua New Guinea.
This event is free with Museum admission.

Saturday April 6, 2-4pm Lecture
The Cultural Diversity of New Guinea

Lesley Ann Martin
Lesley Ann Martin has been importing objects from Papua New Guinea since 1983. She was born and raised on the island and learned her trade in the field. She will be speaking about the various cultures in Papua New Guinea ranging from those living in the Highlands to those in the Floodlands of the Sepik River. The talk will be illustrated with breathtaking slides.
This event is free with Museum admission.