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Hofstra University Museum
  • Romare Bearden: Storyteller | January 23 – August 17, 2018 | Emily Lowe Gallery, behind Emily Lowe Hall, South Campus
  • Hidden in Sight: Photographing Incarceration  - August 14 , 2018 -  March 10, 2019, - David Filderman Gallery, Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, Ninth Floor, South Campus

Spirit and Identity: Melanesian Works from the Hofstra University Museum Collections

February 18 - August 1, 2014*
David Filderman Gallery


Curated by the HUM’s Collections Manager Kristy L. Caratzola, this visually stunning exhibition showcases a rarely seen and extraordinary aspect of the HUM collections. The exhibit offers a range of ethnographic artworks and objects created by members of the distinct regional communities of the South Pacific including ancestral figures, ceremonial masks, warrior shields, and ritualized practical objects crafted from natural materials sourced from sacred sites within the territory of each individual culture.  The exhibit also includes sophisticated wooden sculptures carved and painted by revered artists, which serve to express complex ideological beliefs through stylized human and animal forms complemented with colorful, abstract geometric designs.  The vital connection between humans and ancestral spirits and their active role in providing guidance and protection are essential concepts shared among many Oceanic cultures and are defining characteristics of Melanesian art.

*Please note that due to gallery renovations, this exhibition is now closing Friday, August 1, 2014.

Additional exhibition funding has been provided by Astoria Federal Savings.

Gallery Location and Hours

David Filderman Gallery,
Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library,
Ninth Floor, South Campus
Daily 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Summer 2014 (May 13-August 29) Hours
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday, Noon-4 p.m.

Image Gallery: click on 'i' for more information

Nggwalndu Figure
Oceanic, Melanesian, Abelam peoples Papua New Guinea, Middle Sepik River, Maprik Region Nggwalndu Figure, 20th century Wood, pigment 49.5 x 9.5 x 9in., Hofstra University Museum Collections, Gift of Cedric H. Marks HU 73.83

Related Programs:

Exhibition Recepation and Curator's Talk
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
4-5:30 pm
David Filderman Gallery, Ninth Floor, Axinn Library, South Campus

Bethpage Federal Credit Union Global Explorations at the Hofstra University Museum
Friday, February 21 and June 20, 2014
2-3 pm
David Filderman Gallery, Ninth Floor, Axinn Library, South Campus

Second Saturdays at the HUM: Mask It!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
1:30-2:30 pm
David Filderman Gallery, Ninth Floor, Axinn Library, South Campus

Second Saturdays at the HUM: Shield It!
Saturday, April 12, 2014
1:30-2:30 pm
David Filderman Gallery, Ninth Floor, Axinn Library, South Campus

**Program fees may apply.  For more information or to register for Museum events please call (516) 463-5672 or click here.

  • Benui Figure

    Papua New Guinea, Benui Figure, 20th century, Wood, pigment, 26”, Hofstra University Museum Collections, Gift of Cedric H. Marks, HU 73.103

  • Ancestral Board, Gope

    Ancestral Board, Gope, 20th century, Balsa wood, pigment, 54.5 x 11.25 in., Hofstra University Museum Collections, Gift of Cedric H. Marks, HU 73.75

  • Suspension Hook

    Oceanic, Melanesian, Iatmul peoples, Papua New Guinea, Suspension Hook, c. 1950s, Wood, pigment, cowrie shells, 17.25 x 6 x 2 in., Hofstra University Museum Collections, Gift of Cedric H. Marks, HU 73.82

  • Standing Male Figure

    Oceanic, Melanesian, Abelam peoples Papua New Guinea, Sepik River, Maprik Region, Standing Male Figure, c. 1950s, Wood, polychrome pigment, 42.25 x 6 x 7 in., Hofstra University Museum Collections, Gift of Cedric H. Marks, HU 73.87

  • Human Head and Bird Post for Yam Ceremony

    Oceanic, Melanesian, Abelam peoples, Papua New Guinea, Sepik River, Maprik Region, Human Head and Bird Post for Yam Ceremony, c. 1950s, Wood, polychrome pigment, 39 x 5 x 14 in., Hofstra University Museum Collections, Gift of Cedric H. Marks, HU 73.88


  • Romare Bearden: Storyteller | January 23 – August 17, 2018 | Emily Lowe Gallery, behind Emily Lowe Hall, South Campus
  • Hidden in Sight: Photographing Incarceration  - August 14 , 2018 -  March 10, 2019, - David Filderman Gallery, Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, Ninth Floor, South Campus