Marie Reay in Papua New Guinea: Exploring Cultures Through Objects

Marie Reay in Papua New Guinea

Marie Reay in Papua New Guinea celebrates the work of ANU anthropologist Marie Reay, who devoted much of her adult life to fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, especially in the Central Highlands in the Waghi Valley and the Minj area. It was there, during her 1953-1955 fieldwork, that she collected the majority of the artefacts that she later donated to the ANU School of Archaeology & Anthropology which figure prominently in the exhibition. During that period of fieldwork she spent the majority of her time among the Kuma people. Many of the artefacts shown in the exhibition are related to the Pig Ceremony known as the Konggol. In her book, The Kuma: Freedom and Conformity in the New Guinea Highlands, Marie Reay wrote, “This is a climactic ritual that so dominates the life of the Kuma and their neighbours that I shall be continually referring to it.” The exhibition uses objects to create windows into the lives of the people Marie Reay studied, to explore their daily lives, ceremonies, and the changes that were taking place in their world in the period 1953-1955.

Marie Reay in Papua New Guinea: Exploring Cultures Through Objects is a joint exhibition by the ANU School of Archaeology & Anthropology and the ANU Archives. Erin Aulaire Gates, PhD Candidate ANU Interdisciplinary Cross Cultural Research 2022, provided these remarks about Marie Reay at the exhibition launch on 1 July 2022.

The physical exhibition will be on view in the Menzies Library foyer from late May to October 2022.