Marking 250 years since Cook's first voyage to the Pacific, we celebrate the dazzling and diverse art of the region of Oceania, from the historic to the contemporary.
From the remote shores of Rapa Nui to the dense rainforest of Papua New Guinea, the islands of the Pacific are home to some of the most culturally diverse populations on the planet. The region embraces an extraordinary range of art forms, from delicate shell ornaments to spectacularly decorated canoes and meeting houses. These have fascinated outsiders since the exploratory voyages of Captain Cook, the first of which commenced 250 years ago in 1768, and went on to entrance Gauguin and a host of other European artists.
This volume accompanies a major survey in London and Paris of art from Oceania. It brings together the most up-to-date scholarship by the leading experts in the field, encompassing a dazzling array of objects from the region, including many that have never been published before. Also included are many works that have historically been overlooked, such as painted and woven textiles, elaborate wicker assemblages and expressively sculpted vessels, alongside works by artists working in Oceania today. Objects of great aesthetic beauty, these artworks are the product of a complex web of social, mythological and historical influences.
Oceania will bring together around 200 exceptional works from public and private collections worldwide, and will span over 500 years. From shell, greenstone and ceramic ornaments, to huge canoes and dazzling house facades, we explore important themes of voyaging, place making and encounter. The exhibition draws from rich historic ethnographic collections dating from the 18th century to the present, and includes seminal works produced by contemporary artists exploring history, identity and climate change.