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Communicating the invisible

03 Sciamani - 1920x1080

Shamans and shamanism: terms that evoke an imagery of atavistic rituals, eerie masks, hallucinations and exotic places. But what really is shamanism? Who are shamans and what do they do? And do they still exist?

An immersive journey through anthropology, ethnography, psychology, archaeology and art to discover the places, rituals, languages and objects of the Mongolian and Siberian cultures that still practise shamanism today.

The focal point of the exhibition is the Sergio Poggianella Foundation‘s collection and experience with more than one hundred exhibits and artefacts from China, Siberia and Mongolia that allow the theme to be investigated in its entirety and complexity.

For the first time, three important museums of the Autonomous Province of Trento are united for this exhibition: MUSE – Science Museum of Trento, Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, and METS – Trentino Ethnographic Museum of San Michele all’Adige.

Thematic tour

The exhibition consists of 8 sections, each of which touches on and explores a particular theme between anthropology and archaeology, sociology, science, psychology and cognitive science, and art.

✷ Introduction
Shamanism or Shaman? A reflection on the word and the evolution of its meaning over time.

✷ Shamans and the sacred
What can be defined as ‘sacred’? What role did shamanic objects play? How does one become a shaman? Is it only a male role?

✷ Shamans and society
How do shamans operate in the community? Is their role a privileged one or does it conceal ‘dark sides’?

✷ Shamans and nature
Shamanic objects evoke the natural and animal world. DNA analysis makes it possible to reconstruct ‘shamanic landscapes’ made up of special sounds and places.

✷ Shamans and archaeology
Can we talk about ‘prehistoric shamanism’? A meditation on the spirituality of our ancestors.

✷ Contemporary shamanism
Like any human phenomenon, shamanism evolves and changes with the passing of time. Shamanism is still a living and dynamic practice that draws on traditional knowledge in order to act in the contemporary world.

✷ Shamans and altered states of consciousness
What are altered states of consciousness? Are they something exceptional or are they part of our everyday life? Have a sensory experience and feel the sensations of the altered state of consciousness.

✷ Shamans and contemporary art
A dialogue between shamanic art and artefacts: artists, photographers and film makers extend the shamanic theme to current issues.

Browse the photo album

Sciamani. Comunicare con l’invisibile


Sergio Poggianella Foundation

The Sergio Poggianella Foundation collection of shamanic art from Eurasia was created in 2000 when the founder, Sergio Poggianella, travelled to Siberia and came into contact with shamans for the first time. Since then, numerous trips have been made not only to Siberia, but also to Mongolia and China, during which he deepened his studies on the subject and expanded his collection of shamanic artefacts.

Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto

The Mart – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto is a cultural hub encompassing the main venue in Rovereto – designed by Mario Botta and Giulio Andreolli -, the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero, also in Rovereto, and the Galleria Civica, in Trento. Mart is the venue for exhibitions, events, educational initiatives and research activities, preserving a heritage of around 20,000 works.
The Collections and temporary exhibitions span 150 years of art history: from the first decades of the 19th century to Futurism, from Metaphysics to the Italian Novecento, from Arte Povera to Conceptual Art, up to contemporary experimentation.

METS – Museo etnografico trentino di San Michele all’Adige (Trentino Ethnographic Museum San Michele all’Adige)

43 halls, spread over 5 levels and 25 sections, with a total of 12,000 exhibits: the METS – Museo Etnografico Trentino San Michele (Trentino Ethnographic Museum San Michele all’Adige) is a treasure chest that preserves the historical memory and roots of the Trentino people. Many themes are covered: from agriculture to handicrafts, from animal husbandry to viticulture, from music to popular devotion, with accurate reconstructions of environments and an interesting focus on the tradition of carnival in the Alps and Europe. In addition to its exhibition programme, the museum also carries out important research work, and organises events and educational activities for families and schools.

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