Beginning January 28, 2000, the Peabody Essex Museum
, in Salem, Mass., will present an exhibition on boat design entitled Suggestive Curves. The groundbreaking exhibition showcases the work of craftsmen from the U.S., Native America, Asia and the Pacific Islands, spanning two centuries of small watercraft design. The exhibition will run through May 7, 2000.
The exhibition features 22 vessels, including a sealskin kayak built in Greenland sometime in the late 19th Century. Its Inuit designer skillfully employed what few materials he had at his disposal: sealskin tautly sewn over a frame of willow or driftwood. The lightweight craft is scarcely wider than the passenger it's designed to carry. As such, it's perfectly suited to cut through the strong winds and icy seas of the Davis Strait.
The musuem began collecting small watercraft in the 1820s, so the boats in Suggestive Curves reflect the museum's diverse collections of art and culture. Other vessels features include a double-outrigger canoe from Bali, Indonesia; a Burmese sampan; a birch bark canoe from the Cree tribe; the sailing dory of a Swampscott fisherman.