Where does culture come from? Is it from a uniquely human urge to imagine, rehash and stylize? Does it seep out of the cracks in our everyday lives, where the energy we apply to labor muddies the river of our private hopes and fears? Whatever the origins of culture, it has found a home in the objects that surround people, from pottery to brick walls.
Explore the relationship between ancient artifacts and the cultures that inspired them through Origins: Objects of Material Culture, the new exhibit opening at Boise Art Museum Saturday, Feb. 23. Objects with core ties to the everyday lives of ancient peoples will be on display, with styles ranging from ceramic creations from the Southwest to African ritual masks.
Sandy Harthorn, curator of art at BAM, said the examples displayed "reflect how artisans have contributed to their community's sense of place and identity." The selections show the differences between cultures, as well as "offering the viewer an opportunity to discover cross-cultural similarities."
Exhibits hail from all over the world—from the Americas, Oceania and Africa—and from time periods ranging from pre-European contact through the 20th century. Each piece shows the influence of traditional customs on everyday artifacts. Museum-goers may notice the unique shapes and patterns that are specific to each region, most of which developed over hundreds of years through cultural conventions.
The show will run through Jan. 12, 2014.