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New Guinea Highlands: Art from the Jolika Collection

The Highlands region of Papua New Guinea is distinguished geographically by its vast mountain ranges and lush valleys, and culturally by its numerous and diverse societies. Visual expression in the Highlands is marked both by its long-held practices and by methods and materials that reflect its contemporary global connections. For centuries Highlanders have innovated and incorporated old and new elements in their creative processes to achieve a remarkable aesthetic legacy.

In the Highlands, everyday objects, such as bags, clothing, and other personal and utilitarian items, are given a full range of artistic treatments, often embellished and intricately fabricated. In celebrations and ceremonies, artists approach the human body as a moving composition and a locus for adornment and display. Culled primarily from twentieth-century examples, the works of art featured in this volume represent some types that are still used in daily and ceremonial life in New Guinea today, while other rare pieces are now seldom seen.

Including objects from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s collection housed at the de Young and assembled by Marcia and John Friede, New Guinea Highlands: Art from the Jolika Collection is the first major publication to highlight this extraordinary body of work and celebrate its dynamism, innovative forms, and sophisticated use of materials—as well as to acknowledge generations of Highlands artists. Featuring in-depth subject essays by thirteen preeminent scholars in the field and a fully illustrated catalogue of more than 150 pieces—many never before published—this comprehensive survey celebrates the artistry and ingenuity that exemplifies the art of the New Guinea Highlands. Approx. 600 images.

Hardcover, 668 pages. Read more about the authors here

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