- Oceania presented incredible collection carved living Atua and artefact which express of the true mastery of materials and techniques of the oceanic regions, rich with symbolism and narrative Oceania brings together around 200 exceptional works from public collections worldwide spanning over 500 years. I was Interested to see contemporary artworks alongside works with ritual and supernatural purpose. On reflection the Anglo Saxon exhibit of stone gold and precious metal objects as history convey material wealth, often been found buried down deep in the earth like bones. however these traded and stolen objects from oceanic cultural history seem to be alive, ethereal delicate associations are web like. Speaking of air, sea, of the ecosystem.Some of the intricate weaving and carvings must have taken many many months to complete affirming for me the ability of objects to hold power and convey narrative, further power was given to these objects over time in they way they were gifted or used in ceremonial activities.
- Of interest to me was the evidence of a change in trade due to colonial rule perhaps this is integral to the creation of a souvenir trade in New Zealand, notably the trade of mokomoki initiated by Joseph banks...undertones sinister colonial beginnings. These ideas are explored in Lisa Reihanas meticulous panoramic video work which is is set against the scenic wallpaper from 1805 called Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (or Savages of the Pacific) which depicts pacific peoples in fantastical landscape romanticized by pacific people in neoclassical poses and attire. Transit of Venus (infected) challenges this colonial gaze Reihana invited people of varying Oceania decent to enact scenes of encounter as 'authors of their own representation'.
- The exhibition concluded with works that refer to memory and one of my favourite works John Pules huge 5 panel painting, All new Arrivals. This work places Polynesian Atua within the contemporary landscape and is concerned with the migration of people liking modern conflict and terrorist acts to past and ongoing effects of colonial conflict. I found to work to be really moving.