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Exhibition "Power and Prestige: The Art of Clubs in Oceania" (Venice)

This was an original and unusual exhibition that evoked much thought. The exhibition brought together for the first time in Venice "sticks" from Oceania. Organized in partnership with the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac Museum (Paris), the "Giancarlo Ligabue" Foundation invited us to travel through this exhibition, an exhibition that might have been more normal in the land of Marco Polo.

These "sticks" were symbols of authority, commanding human and divine power, and were sometimes used as formidable weapons (clubs). The exhibition shows their uses and cultural contexts, similarities and differences, and allows them to be admired as beautiful sculptures, revealing the creativity and artistic talents of Oceanian craftsmen. The exhibition sheds new light on the relationships between peoples and the cultural complexity of Oceania.

The curator of the exhibition, Professor Steven Hooper (Director of the Sainsbury Research Unit - University of East Anglia - UK) selected 126 objects from various European collections, including objects from Rapa Nui currently in our General House Collection. These were two ceremonial paddles: an Ao, a symbol of power and command, and a Rapa, a badge of rank and a sign of authority, which was used when military leaders performed war dances to frighten their opponents, or which were wielded them during female dances.

The opening of the exhibition took place on Friday, October 15, at Palazzo Franchetti, in the presence of Inti Ligabue, President of the Foundation, Commissioner Steven Hooper and Emmanuel Kasarhérou, the President of the Quai Branly Museum.

The exhibition will remain open until 13 March in the City of the Doges and will then move to Paris (Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac) from 8 June to 25 September, 2022. This is an exhibition not to be missed by all Oceania enthusiasts!