Steven G. Alpert welcomes you to Art of the Ancestors


© Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen | The Netherlands


Selamat Datang!


Welcome to Art of the Ancestors.


We invite you on a journey through our dynamic, thoughtfully curated educational platform, celebrating the artistic genius of the peoples of Island Southeast Asia. 


My name is Steven G. Alpert and for nearly half a century, I have dedicated my life’s work to collecting and championing the aesthetic attainments of peoples across the Pacific Rim, cultivating a specialized expertise in the artistic canons of Indonesia and East Malaysia.

In the 1960's, I discovered Indonesian gamelan music, which in its own circuitous way, led to the first of my many adventures through Island Southeast Asia. I was enchanted by the natural wonders of the archipelago and the tremendous diversity of local civilizations. I had the distinct privilege of meeting and befriending elders, warriors, and weavers, who still embodied ancestral knowledge and magic. These early experiences formed the basis of an ongoing love affair with these cultures and the emblematic masterpieces that they created.


Mrs. Margaret McDermott and Steven G. Alpert at the Dallas Museum of Art.


After the recent loss of my dear friend and long-time patron, Mrs. Margaret McDermott, I envisioned this digital offering to honor her legacy and philanthropy at the Dallas Museum of Art.

For nearly 35 years, Mrs. McDermott, The Nasher’s, The Estes’, The Ansberry-Rahardja’s, the Alpert’s, the Indonesian community in Dallas, and so many others — along with seven directors and two outstanding curators, John Lunsford and Carol Robbins — all worked in concert to build one of the finest, most reputable, and lavishly beautiful collections of Island Southeast Asian art in existence.


Art of the Ancestors is dedicated to upholding our shared passion and commitment to these traditions for posterity. 


Warrior's Shield | Kelbit/Kelempit/Kliau/Talawang
© The Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA


Art of the Ancestors is built upon the desire to recognize and present authentic masterworks that are collectively stewarded by public institutions. It is our mission to offer an evolving archive of educational resources on essential Island Southeast Asian art forms and traditions.

Each week, we will provide our readers with academic articles and critiques from contributing scholars, in-depth interviews with experts in the field, exhibition announcements, and assorted in-house features. 

Each gallery of aggregated masterpieces on Art of the Ancestors is designed to function as a thought-provoking mosaic. For your viewing pleasure, I have chosen an unprecedented profusion of Island Southeast Asian art currently situated in global museum collections.

As we move into the future, Art of the Ancestors will delve into the back stories of these elaborate creations and offer greater context regarding their origins.


Art of the Ancestors is both honored and gratified by the participation of Dr. Reimar Schefold, who has agreed to serve as our scientific advisor.

In partnership with a robust team of scholarly contributors, creative collaborators, and stakeholders, it is our hope to expand the appreciation of these magnificent cultures and their iconic masterworks. 


If you draw inspiration from this platform and would like to join us in our pursuit of artistic excellence and journalistic integrity, please reach out to us through our Contact page. You can also show your support by subscribing to our monthly newsletter here.


Together, we can make a lasting contribution to knowledge, beauty, and above all – memory.


With respect and affection, 

Steven G. Alpert

Founder of Art of the Ancestors