On 15 March the Museum Collective had a look at a number of the objects which are to be placed in the World Stories Gallery. These included Masks from New Ireland, contemporary art, an engraved bone and ornamental spoons from Iran. The masks from New Ireland were ceremonial, used by the Malagan in their celebrations; interestingly they are still in use today, and not just for entertaining tourists. The masks we saw were from 1885 and 1985 respectively which gave us the opportunity to contrast the two and note the differences across the 100 year time scale.
The contemporary art came from the Arctic. The Collective saw two images; the first portrayed a family travelling and was entitled Family of eight, the second, which was the favourite of the Collective, was called Angel in town which was quite an emotive image reflecting on the isolation of some Arctic communities. A member of the Collective responded to it by saying, ‘Wow, it’s beautiful’.
The engraved bone was another item that the Collective found really interesting. The bone came from Alaska, with engraved figures such as reindeer hunters, eagle and dogs which were quite stylized in their representation though still indicating a number of details about the culture such as details of dress. The bone was another object from the 19th century and it and others similar would have been collected by the Victorians.
The final objects we looked at were the spoons from Iran, which received a strong positive response due to the intricate designs and use of passages from the Koran. We were told they came from the 19th century and were most likely ornamental pieces – what especially excited the Collective though, was the opportunity to handle the objects, with our fashionable rubber gloves on, and really examine the carving.
Amber, 16, Museum Collective Co-ordinator