Some thoughts on "Fiji, Life and Art in the Pacific", on view at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich until February12,  2017.This soon-to-close exhibition of more than 270 objects is a joint project of the Sainsbury Centre  and the Cambridge Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology (CMAA),with the participation of the Fiji National Museum and the support of several  other  British and European museums as lenders of significant individual artworks. It Continue reading...

"Myth + Magic; Art of the Sepik River", National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, until November 2015.Many Oceanic art lovers are aware of  the big  Sepik  art exhibition staged consecutively in Berlin, then Zurich and currently in Paris, where it is on view at the Quai Branly until the end of January 2016. It was originally launched in Berlin as Tanz der Ahnen or Dance of the Ancestors and displays around 200 works, (the number varies slightly from city to city), mostly 19th century examples Continue reading...

Senta Taft Hendry,  the diminutive Sydney tribal art dealer who was still actively managing her Galleries Primitif at the age of 88, died on December 6, 2014 and an era of Australian tribal art dealing and collecting passed with herIn her remarkable life she  worked as an airline  flight attendant, flogged whiskey to Japanese businessmen, helped organise the Melbourne Olympics, hitchhiked from Zambia to the Congo, searched Irian Jaya for Michael Rockefeller, bought and  sold tribal art for Continue reading...

was very little interest in the material culture of the Highlands (or anywhere else in New Guinea) during the 50s and 60s. As a result, the art of the Highlands had never been systematically collected or studied on a large scale before Stan made his first visit in 1961 so he played a leading role in introducing Highlands art to the rest of the world. In truth, but for Stan Moriarty and his passion for the PNG Highlands, many of the l artworks on view in this exhibition might have disappeared co Continue reading...

 The bonito, a member of the tuna family, is common in Oceania and highly valued as a food fish.  It is eagerly fished for throughout Polynesia and in areas of Micronesia and Melanesia, including the Solomon Islands. In the South East Solomon Islands, however, the  bonito was elevated from a food source to become the focus a  religious cult that dominated men's lives. This cult existed within the triangle formed by three specks of land  Santa Ana (Owa-raha) and Santa Catalina (Owa-riki), Continue reading...

Made in Oceania: Tapa – Art and Social Landscapes, until 27 April 2014 at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Cultures of the World Museum, Cologne, Germany. Oceania has no widespread weaving tradition and, with the exception of New Zealand flax, no abundant source of fibre. As a result, indigenous woven textiles are almost unknown from this region. Instead, there is an almost universal tradition of making bark cloth which is called by many names (including siapo, kappa, and tapa) throughout  Polynesia Continue reading...

   A man stands at the very top of a makeshift tower 15 – 25 meters (50 – 80 feet) off the ground. He dives off it head first as a watching crowd of women and children chant encouragement.He plummets straight down, but just before this head is about to strike the ground and possibly break his neck, he is pulled short by flexible jungle vine ropes tied to his ankles and stands up to triumphant applause. So ends the Ngol, the ancient land diving ritual of Pentecost Island in Vanuat Continue reading...

 The Fowler at UCLA has just turned 50 and  to celebrate this milestone, they are  honoring their donors old and new by praising  the generosity that has made it possible to build up an amazing collection in only five decades.. First and foremost of these benefactors showcased  in a series of  exhibitions collectively titled "Fowler at 50", is the Wellcome Trust, which donated the massive Wellcome collection in 1965 – all 30,000 pieces of it -  mainly from Oceania and Africa.This gift Continue reading...

Book Review: “Collecting New Guinea Art: Douglas Newton, Harry Beran, Thomas Schultze-Westrum”. Edited  by Michael Hamson, text by Virginia-Lee Webb, Harry Beran, Michael Hamson and Thomas Schultze-Westrum. Collections photographed by Aaron Fallon. Published by Michael Hamson Oceanic Art, hard cover, 224 pages. Price US$45 plus mailing. Orders: mhamson@michaelhamson.com Michael Hamson’s previous catalogues have concentrated on specific cultural style areas (the Boiken, the Papuan Gulf, Continue reading...

 Sotheby’s tribal auctions have been going through a grey patch lately, with a disappointing gross turnover of around €3.7 million at their two most recent  Paris sales , but the sun continued to shine brightly on Christies. Their recent (June 219th) tribal sales, which grossed an impressive €7.89 million, presented one of the strongest tribal offerings we have seen in Paris for quite a while and was led by two remarkable pieces which together accounted for around €4.8 million (more t Continue reading...

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