Carving A Culture: The Asmat Way

The Asmat people inhabit the southwestern portion of New Guinea Island. Their religion tells how they were carved from trees and brought to life by the beating of the drum. The tree is the center of every aspect of life. From birth to the afterlife, the spirit of the tree remains entwined with the spirit of the Asmat. This creates a sense of strength and harmony between the people and the land. Shapes and forms are carved from living trees, revealing the Asmat culture and representing the spirit world. The Asmat people call themselves. "The People of the Trees”.

This exhibition of the Downing and Bakwin Collections of Asmat Art was designed and constructed by Museum staff and students from the 2009 Museums Exhibition Class.

Regional map of the Asmat culture in New Guinea. Images show divided maps into 12 regions on the west coast of the island that faces the Arafura Sea. The regions include Emari Ducur, Joerat, Unir Sirau, Unir Epmak, Bras, Bisman, Simai, Kenekap, Aramatak, Yupmakcain, Bacembub, and Safan

Museum Staff

Museum Director: Jerry Martin 

Museum Exhibitions Instructor: Matt Hoofer 

Registrar: Sue Cowdery Student 

Preparator Video Editor: Troy Belford

Student Curator: Sabrina Klutzke

Student Preparers

Kyle Ackerman, Jami Beach, Jelena Brezjanovic-Shogren, Lindsay Charles, Rachel Dellovechio, Kelly Dyer, Breanne Lasorso, David Moors , Michael Tracy


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