Entry to the World

Entry to the World

Doorway panel, Paiwan peoples, Taiwan, 19th century

"Fowler in Focus: Doors in Global Perspective" Opens June 24 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA

Many are from Nigeria and Indonesia.


By Stacey Abarbanel

Nineteen impressive and diverse doors drawn from the Fowler Museum collections are considered in the exhibition "Fowler in Focus: Doors in Global Perspective," on display at the museum from Jun. 24 through Dec. 1. These carved, embossed, embroidered, beaded and painted portals from around the world feature extraordinary artistry and illustrate the wide conceptual variety that diverse cultures bring to the uses, meanings and potentialities of doors.

The doors on display date from the 19th and 20th centuries and are from Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Americas, with many examples from Nigeria and Indonesia. Most are made of wood and embellished with carving (showing dragons, crocodiles and abstract designs), paint and other decorations, while three pieces are textile hangings from India and feature elaborate embroidery and beading. Their original places of use include tombs, granaries, homes, ceremonial houses and even a palace, as in the case of a richly ornamented wood door from Nigeria carved by Yoruba artists Lamidi Fakeye and Fayomi. Created for a palace gate in the city of Ile-Ife, this door is one of 16 commissioned in the 1950s by the city's former king, Adesoji Aderemi II.

The doors selected for this Fowler in Focus exhibition share a number of significant characteristics. Some communicate prestige and status, perhaps identifying their owners as wealthy or important. Many of these doors served, in the widest sense, to protect, and they include imagery capable of offering spiritual as well as physical security. Their symbols can also be propitious, alluding to abundance, health and well-being, continuity, and beneficence, as well as to cosmology, ancestors and deities.

"Doors in Global Perspective" will be on view in the Fowler in Focus gallery, the central space within the "Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives" exhibit. Fowler in Focus is dedicated to rotating installations of new acquisitions, sub-collections and particular artistic genres in the Fowler's permanent holdings. The Fowler is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and on Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. The museum is closed Monday and Tuesday. The Fowler Museum, part of UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture, is located in the north part of the UCLA campus. Admission is free. Parking is available for $8 in Lot 4. For more information, the public may call (310) 825-4361 or visit www.fowler.ucla.edu.


Published: Thursday, May 31, 2007