March 15, 2011

Collection Spotlight: A Yup'ik Mourning Dancer

Object #: 1999-144/1
In this Collection Spotlight, we write less and hopefully you write more…

As I was happily clicking through the Ethnology Collections database, I came across this image of a doll titled Mourning Dancer by Yup’ik artist Suzanne Wardlow.

Here are some of my musings about this piece: I find this image entirely arresting. It makes me wonder about the sound the dancer would make as he moved. Having recently attended the Seattle Art Museum’s exuberant Nick Cave exhibit, I am interested in the contrast between the celebratory movement of Cave’s pieces and the mourning dance of Wardlow’s doll.

Now, what about you?   When you first encounter an artifact in a museum, like this Mourning Doll, what musings do you have? Do you want to know how something moved, felt, tasted? When have you had to resist the urge to jump into an exhibit?

At this point, I have yet to master the art of mind reading (not for lack of trying, mind you)…so please WRITE me your musings and pondering in the comments…I'm curious to know what you think!

Posted by: Emily Sparling