Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern
For many of us, our knowledge of the world encompasses only a small area: our city, our state, maybe our country. We learn about the rest of the world in school, through conversation, reading, movies, vacation, etc. But one of the most important and effective ways to learn about a foreign culture is through art. George and Missy Good have traveled throughout the world, collecting cultural artifacts and foreign artists’ works when they lived overseas. The family moved between Abu Dhabi, London, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Cairo over a period of more than 16 years, and Mrs. Good spent most of those years traveling to remote villages. “I loved living there so much,” she said, “so I just wanted to learn about the cultures, and that’s how it all started.” Their collection is eclectic, representing cultures that are completely different from one another.
The Goods’ collection spans multiple countries, cultures, and media, including hundreds of different objects they each hold a personal connection to. “Everything has a personality of its own,” Mrs. Good states, “I love it!” It became a part of their lives together, building memories with one another through the various cultural objects they collected. Mr. Good added, “I wasn’t asked!” “George just loves me – How many other husbands would put up with this,” she replied. Mrs. Good can explain the story behind every piece in their collection, all of which hold reference to a particular trip, conversation, event, and moment in their lives.
One of the most striking pieces in the Goods’ collection is their Bridal Palanquin from Zhuhai, China. Mrs. Good stated that the Bridal Palanquin was an integral part of the traditional Chinese wedding. At her home, the bride would have her face covered with a red cloth and be carried to and placed in the bridal sedan chair (palanquin). According to custom of that time, the bride “should neither see the sky nor step on the ground.” This was to ensure that evil was avoided and good fortune would come to the marriage. The elaborately decorated Bridal Palanquin was usually reserved a few months in advance. A Chinese almanac was consulted to determine the most auspicious routes for the Bridal Palanquin procession to the groom’s home. The procession from the bride’s home to the groom’s home was an exciting and very important beginning to the three day marriage festivities.
This cultural history is what attracted the Goods to many of the pieces in their collection. Not only does each piece hold a personal memory to the couple, but also marks a significant era in the histories of their past homes. Their cultural experiences and cherished possessions help to not only enrich the aesthetic spectrum exhibited in Collectors’ Choice, but also to educate the public on those foreign civilizations.
The exhibition Collectors’ Choice: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Regional Collectors will be on view from May 17th to September 14th, 2014.
For more information, please visit The Cummer’s website at http://www.cummer.org/