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Sounding out the Morning Star: Music and West Papua



Change log


Blake, Elizabeth 
Adams, Julie 


Exhibition brochure on sound and music in West Papua, drawing on Alexander F. R. Wollaston's collection


Sound is a significant part of the human experience. The ways that people create, distinguish and interpret sound can profoundly influence how they engage with, transform, and value their surroundings.

This exhibition focuses on sound and music in West Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea), both in the past and present. It draws together objects, sounds and birds collected by Alexander F. R. Wollaston in the early years of the twentieth century. There are also personal items such as a bird of paradise feather headdress and ukulele, on loan to the Museum from The Lani Singers, a West Papuan group living in exile in the UK who use music to draw attention to their struggle for independence from Indonesia.

The exhibition includes two innovative ‘sound posters’ designed by a Cambridge-based company Novalia. The posters’ conductive ink allows visitors to touch images and hear the music of The Lani Singers as well as the calls of various West Papuan birds.


Museum, Exhibition, Music, Indonesia, New Guinea, West Papua, Wollaston

Is Part Of


Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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Publisher URL

The research leading to this exhibition has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° [324146]11.