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Department of Social Anthropology

Colour Wheel at the Whipple Museum

COLOUR is an exciting new exhibition opening at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on 26 July 2022. Using an anthropological approach, the project integrates work across arts, humanities and sciences with collections-based research and consultation with specialists, Indigenous experts, student groups and community stakeholders. 

Drawing on remarkable and diverse collections from the University of Cambridge museums, libraries and colleges, this innovative exhibition aims to challenge our understandings of colour and investigate how colour is perceived and used in different social contexts, past and present. Different materials, technologies and social beliefs and practices make different colours visible. From Newton's use of prisms to reveal colours in apparently white light, to artists' colour formulae, the shimmering feathers on a Royal Hawaiian cloak, rainbow flags and the ubiquitous use of black and white to categorise race, the exhibition explores how colours are created, put to different purposes, experienced and given potency.  

COLOUR is curated by Anita Herle with Tom Crowley, drawing on the advice and assistance of dozens of colleagues. It will be open from 26 July 2022 until 9 April 2023. The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is open to the public free of charge Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 – 17:00 and Sunday 12:00 – 17:00.

For further information and updates about associated activities and events please see MAA’s website

‘Ahu ‘ula, Royal Hawaiian Feather Cloak. 19th century. MAA Z 6140

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