"Polynesian Art" Exhibition in Brussels, May-June 2023

Lempertz, is pleased to present the exhibition "Polynesian Art", from May 25th to June 30th, 2023. It will showcase a range of important artworks and objects from Polynesia, a region that spans over 1,000 islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean, including Aotearoa (New Zealand), Hawai’i, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Well-known for its rich cultural heritage, traditional beliefs, and a strong shared heritage of sailing and exploration, Polynesia is one of the largest geographic regions on the planet, first settled by travelers from East Asia about 1500 years ago, spreading from Tahiti to New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawai’i.

Visitors to the exhibition will learn about Belgium’s historic links with Polynesia. The Belgian, J.A Moerenhout, was an early chronicler of life in Polynesia; Belgian missionaries from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in Braine l’Alleud sent Polynesian artefacts back to Europe which would later form part of the Vatican’s collections, and Father Damian established a well-known mission on Hawai’i’s Molokai Island. In 1934 a Belgo-French expedition sailed from Antwerp on the ship Mercator to Polynesia where a team led by Henri Lavachery and Alfred Metraux did valuable archaeological research on Easter Island.

Belgium has a long tradition of admiring Oceanic art, with many important artefacts housed in museums and private collections throughout the country. This special exhibition is an opportunity to see approximately 225 artworks from Polynesia - sculptures, textiles, and carvings - many from Belgian collections, and several which have not been exhibited publicly before. A fully illustrated catalogue documenting the exhibition will be available.

The "Polynesian Art" exhibition will be held in Lempertz’ Great Room located at 6 rue du Grand Cerf, 1000 Brussels.

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