The visual arts of Oceania tell a wealth of dynamic stories about origins, ancestral power, performance, and initiation. This publication explores the deeply rooted connections between Austronesian-speaking peoples, whose ancestral homelands span Island Southeast Asia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the island archipelagoes of the northern and eastern Pacific. Unlike previous books, it foregrounds Indigenous perspectives, alongside multidisciplinary research in art history, ethnography, and archaeology, to provide an intimate look at Oceania, its art, and its culture. Stunning new photography highlights more than 130 magnificent objects, ranging from elaborately carved ancestral figures in ceremonial houses, towering slit drums, and dazzling turtle-shell masks to polished whale ivory breastplates. Underscoring the powerful interplay between the ocean and its islands, and the ongoing connection with spiritual and ancestral realms, Oceania: The Shape of Time presents an art-focused approach to life and culture while guiding readers through the artistic achievements of Islanders across millennia.
Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press
Museum of Art Pudong, Shanghai
June 1–August 20, 2023
National Museum of Qatar, Doha
October 16, 2023–January 15, 2024
Accompanies the reopening of The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in Spring 2025