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Spirits: African and Oceanic Art from the Dr. Alan and Linda Rich Collection
October 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021
A continuing exhibition in the Linda Rich Gallery.
Over the course of four decades, Dr. Alan and Linda Rich have displayed a passion for helping others, traveling the world and bringing medical care to those in need. With his profession as an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon and hers as an occupational therapist trained to help Alan (who goes more familiarly by Rico) in clinics and in surgeries, the Riches worked together to transform the lives of many in need of critical eye care. While administering to patients in clinics in Papua New Guinea and throughout Africa, Linda and Rico also immersed themselves in the diverse artistic cultures of the countries they visited. Along the way, they acquired a collection of ritual and ceremonial objects that filled their home in Lakeland until Fall 2020, when the Riches donated their full African and Oceanic art collection to the Museum.
The Riches’ generous gift — a large portion of which is on display in the Linda Rich Gallery and which entails artifacts that speak to the close spiritual communion between humans and animals — now fills this dedicated space in the Museum and will be on permanent display with the occasional rotation of objects. Importantly, this gallery functions on two separate but interwoven levels: it offers at once an examination of the spiritual objects themselves and their places within the cultures they come from and a story about the humanitarian work the Riches undertook in the process of acquiring the objects. The two histories are tied together intricately.
Click here to view an interview and essay on the exhibit on the Polk Museum of Art website.