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May 13, 2014 — The final day to see the University of Wyoming Art Museum exhibition, “Ancestral Spirits: Easter Island Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection,” is Saturday, May 17.
“Ancestral Spirits” presents small sculptures that reflect the culture and capture the artistry of this ancient island. Easter Island, known today as Rapa Nui, is best known for the large moai (pronounced mo-eye) sculptures that are found throughout the island. It is believed they were created to represent a family or clan member, and that their supernatural powers would look over and protect the family.
The smaller sculptures in “Ancestral Spirits,” created as honorary pieces for ancestors, were used as items of personal protection, or were created in conjunction with cultural and religious practices.
All of the exhibition’s pieces were created in the 20th century. Whether in stone or wood, these pieces reflect the artistry of Easter Island craftspeople, and are a way to preserve a culture that no longer exists as it did when the large moai were created hundreds of years ago.
Through its Museum as Classroom approach, the UW Art Museum places art at the center of learning for all ages. The museum is located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Drive in Laramie. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.
This stone bird is among images in the UW Art Museum exhibition “Ancestral Spirits: Easter Island Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection.” (UW Art Museum)