African and Oceanic Art Gallery
The art of the Asmat and other Pacific cultures are represented in this collecting area. This region features a diversity of ethnic groups and cultures. Of special interest are the towering bis poles created by the Asmat of New Guinea. The carvings that adorn these mighty poles feature figures that represent deceased relatives and distant ancestors. The act of carving a bis pole is a community affair accompanied by feasts and commemoration.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, art takes many forms, but always figures prominently in daily life. Art may embellish objects of personal adornment such as small carvings, fabrics, amulets, and metalwork. Each form communicates who an individual is and where they live. The Crocker’s collection has many examples of the widely varied material culture of Africa’s different peoples. Sculpture, masks, and ritual objects are imbued with special significance and serve communities during times of hardship and bounty. They also define important life events such as initiation for adolescents.