Friday, February 10, 2012

A Borrowed Adventure

The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History recently opened a new exhibit of native art from Papua New Guinea. I went to the opening reception of the exhibit and had the opportunity to visit with the man, Herbert Steves, a University of Oklahoma alumnus from the class of 1945, who donated a large portion of the work.

Herbert acquired the art while on a feasibility exhibition conducted by Conoco in May 1972. I was charmed to hear about his stories and experiences in a land and culture I can hardly imagine — especially for a man who grew up his entire life in small-town Oklahoma.

I shared this in my story:
An Oklahoma farm boy at heart, Steves said he feels amazed and overwhelmed he was able to trade what he considered every day objects like tools, salt, tobacco and even shirts, for art created by natives.
"I just hope the public will enjoy it and get some ideas of how the people in (Papua New Guinea) live in the primitive areas," he said. "The towns and the cities are all fairly civilized but it doesn't take long to get back in to the villages."
As he talked to me, a sentimental twinkle in his eye and the objects he brought back with him surrounding us, I could only imagine the wonder and awe he felt as he experienced this adventure so many years ago first-hand. Seeing the objects made me that much more curious about the lives others lead around the world.

Read the full story here.


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