Barcelona's Museu de la Música presents a new temporary exhibition entitled Música i natura a l'illa de Nova Guinea (Music and Nature on the Island of New Guinea), aimed at introducing visitors to the musical instruments found on this Pacific island.
The exhibition, which is open to visitors until 26 June 2022, has been organised thanks to a collaborative initiative between the Barcelona museum and Fundación La Fontana, one of the most important private collections of ethnological instruments in the world. This collaborative relationship began in 2019 with the exhibition Músiques als dits. Sanses africanes de la Fundació La Fontana (Music in Your Fingers. Fundación La Fontana's African Sanses).
Curated by Elena Martínez-Jacquet, the collection features 15 instruments: 12 owned by Fundación La Fontana and 3 by the Museu de la Música. The instruments on display are made up of horns, flutes, buzzers, membranophones, slit drums and water drums.
New Guinea, which lies to the north of Australia, is the second largest island in the world. The western part, which was formerly a Dutch colony, has belonged to Indonesia since 1969, whilst the eastern side, which was a British and German colony for over a century, became the independent state of Papua New Guinea in 1975. Over one thousand languages are spoken there and the island contains a mix of very different cultural groups, the descendants of communities that started to arrive in successive waves 40,000 years ago.
Since its discovery by Portuguese sailors in the early 16th century, New Guinea has fascinated the western world for its inhospitable, lush natural setting, which made it so hard to explore the island, thus helping to conserve local traditions.
The island's natural backdrop, which has ensured its protection, has been an essential source of food and materials generally (plant, animal and mineral based) for the local population, allowing them to build houses and make objects for everyday or ritual use. In this context, nature is understood to be the main linchpin on which New Guinea's forms of representation and symbols all hinge, including its musical practices .
Aleix Palau | 13 May 2021
The Museu de la Música devotes a temporary exhibition to musical instruments from New Guinea
15 instruments are featured at the exhibition, organised in collaboration with Fundación La Fontana, one of the world's leading collections of ethnological instruments.
From 13 May 2021 to 26 June 2022 at the Museu de la Música in Barcelona.