Skip to Main Navigation. Each navigation link will open a list of sub navigation links.

Skip to Main Content

Apply to the University of Wyoming

Global Resource Navigation

Give to UW
Download UW Viewbook
Visit Campus

Ancestral Spirits: Easter Island Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection

Ancestral Spirits: Easter Island Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection

February 1 – May 17, 2014; Rotunda Gallery

moai
easterIIAncestral Spirits: Easter Island Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection 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 that they were created to represent a family or clan member.  No two are exactly the same, and most moai are situated facing away from the sea with the belief that their supernatural powers would look over and protect the family. 

Similarly, the smaller sculptures included in Ancestral Spirits were created as honorary pieces for ancestors, were used as items of personal protection, or were created conjunction with cultural and religious practices.  Some animals, like the carved moko or lizards, were thought to be protection against illness and disease.  Small moai and moai kavakava – those figures with sunken bellies and protruding ribs – represent individual ancestors and are intricately carved. 
All of the pieces included in this exhibition were created in the 20th century.  Whether in stone or wood, these pieces reflect the artistry of Easter Island craftspeople, and are a way of preserving a culture that no longer exists as it did when the large moai were created hundreds of years ago.

Funded in part by UW Art Museum Gala Funds

Images:

Left: Moai, 20th Century, wood, 14-1/2 x 3-7/8 x 3-1/2 inches, gift of Mrs. William T. Mulloy, University of Wyoming Art Museum Collection, 1978.247.99

Right: Birdman, 20th Century, stone, 11 x 8-1/2 x 3-1/4 inches, gift of Mrs. William T. Mulloy, University of Wyoming Art Museum Collection, 1978.247.66


Share This Page:

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Instagram Icon Vimeo Icon Facebook Icon

Accreditation | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Gainfull Employment | Privacy Policy | Accessibility Accessibility information icon