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Laurie Man Under Tree (Read 5271 times)
Reply #1 - Jul 16th, 2006 at 4:30am

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Makawao,  Maui, USA, HI

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Who is going to build the first musium featuring today advanced location painters? It shouldn't just happen after we are dead.
 
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Jul 16th, 2006 at 4:25am

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...

When we moved to Paris in 1993, we lived at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, a couple streets from the Seine.  At that time, a large swath of the neighborhood was demolished for a new building.  There was a terrific outcry and the land on Quai Branly remained vacant until recently.

This land at Quai Branly is now the home of the new museum of "primitive" arts.  In fact, we can't say primitive anymore, and for lack of another name, the museum is called the Musee Quai Branly (Jacques Chirac is hoping one day they will change the name to honor him, but that's another story).  Branly was the inventor of the wireless telegraph, which has nothing to do with the museum.

This nonsense of words is a big issue this week, after France's star soccer player punched out the Italian player for insulting his mother.  I have tried to explain, how, in America, we grow up hearing "your mother wears army boots", and reply "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me". But here, mama is everything -- the only consolation is the world cup is played but every four years.

Blair, Q, and I visited the Musee Quai Branly on a hot day this week.  We waited in a shady line for about 20 minutes, and proceeded inside.  It is a curious layout, with several building units.  Upon entry, a ramp circles a tower full of (poorly lit) musical instruments from non-Western cultures.   Another huge ramp, with a dinky handrail (France hasn't quite adapted to handicap requirements gracefully) leads to the collection.  Once in the dark hall (I actually saw a man with a flashlight), it is a free for all to see some of the scariest objects I've ever laid eyes on.

There is a fantastic group of ceremonial objects from New Guinea and surrounding islands.  Carved wood, straw, bones, teeth and hair are among the materials used.   One human-like figure, comprised of all these, hangs from metal manacles.  His body is a twisted bit of wood, reminiscent of something you would drop in a boiling pot.  Two children were reported lost while we were there.  I held on to Blair's sleeve.

A large carved fish with a man in his mouth occupied a glass case.  On the other side of the fish was a cutaway displaying a human skull.   I was struck with what seemed to be a popular use of skull and bones in these pieces.

There were less gusty objects as well.  Large drums from trees, with clownish faces and large slits carved into in the trunks for sound came from the south Pacific.  Stones from Easter Island gave a solid sense of community with the world.  Marvelous Maori decorations (to us) were part of this "Oceania" section. 

Throughout were the most interesting patterns, carved or painted on a variety of objects.  Some from nature, some imaginary, often very complex were inspiring.

The quantity of items in the museum was similar to that of a large Western art museum.  I found myself thinking these cultures were more creative, and certainly more in touch with nature than our own.  Here we are beating our own Western drum, of sorts, when an equal amount or more of the earth is occupied by people who heal with amulets.   Many of the artifacts were from the 20th century.

African masks, drums, and figures are prominent in the collection of Quai Branly.  A wooden door carved with a fish captured our attention for some time.   Objects from Africa are incredibly varied, both in appearance and use/belief.  Some possessed a calming quality, while I hurried past others, afraid.

I have spent a fortune on doctors bills this last month, only (happily) to discover there is "nothing wrong with me".  Nonetheless, my mobility is compromised.  When all else fails, I go to my own "witch doctor" who treats me with talk and acupuncture.  This time, he suggested a "fireball" treatment for some gastro-intestinal problems.  "Oh, well, you know it isn't that bad," I hedged, as he started burning what looked like incense. "This won't hurt more than a bee sting."

Laurie (text) and Blair (painting) PESSEMIER
Man under Tree Luxembourg Gardens (statue of Branly background)   M. Blair PESSEMIER Oil on linen 24 x 16 inches
 
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