In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • About the Artists
  • Katherine Higgins

The 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, “Culture in Harmony with Nature,” was hosted by Solomon Islands in July 2012. For two weeks, the purpose-built festival village, exhibition spaces, performance venues, and four satellite villages were filled with song, dance, and celebration. Solomon Islanders from throughout the archipelago traveled to Honiara to participate and witness the breadth of arts from across the region. The hosts showed exceptional hospitality while also enjoying each moment of the festivities.

The festival showcased canoe building and navigation, carving, culinary arts, fashion, film, fire walking, floral arts, healing, photography, pottery, tapa making, tattooing, weaving, painting, sculpture, and mixed-media installations. Visual arts were everywhere—throughout the festival grounds, at the public market, and in local shops—but the premier exhibition was in the Solomon Islands National Art Gallery. The curators, Brian Afia and Laura Linda Keyaumi, opted for salon-style presentation, grouping artworks by country with the exception of works by Solomon Islands artists, which were spread throughout the exhibition rooms. Sculptures and mixed-media installations were surrounded by constant streams of both visitors and artists provoked to consider and challenge the range of art.

The works included in this issue are by no means representative of the entire exhibition—the diversity of work shown there affirmed that there is no “Pacific” style. The imagery, techniques, and stories were as diverse, colorful, and complex as Oceania itself. From the celebration of diversity, there was unity. The artworks featured throughout this issue are a sampling of the talented and dedicated community of artists in Solomon Islands and elsewhere in the region who were part of a lively artistic exchange fueled by the festival. This selection is a reminder of the continuous surge of creativity in Oceania and the need for more frequent gatherings and exhibitions. [End Page vii]

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Atua Gupu, by Terry Tegae‘a (Solomon Islands). 2012.

Vasa (wood), oil paint, and polish. 1 meter high.

Terry Tegae‘a named this sculpture after the spirit worshipped by the people of Rennell and Bellona before they go bird hunting. Terry’s technical ability and artistic vision, informed by local customs and legends, permit the quiet nobility of Atua Gupu to emerge from the wood. He balances customary references and modernist styling in a naturalistic and nuanced anthropomorphic form with clean lines and intricate finishing. Throughout the exhibition rooms at the Solomon Islands National Art Gallery, sculptures by Terry and other artists from Ao Matangi Artcraft and Carving Company attest to the sophistication of carving in Solomon Islands. [End Page viii]

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Wat Moa? (What More?), by Alisa Vavataga (Fiji and Solomon Islands). 2012.

Acrylic on canvas. 900 mm × 600 mm.

Dressed in Malaita shell money—representing her culture as well as the bride price paid by her husband—the bride asks herself, “I am married, so where am I going from here?” Alisa Vavataga wants viewers, especially Melanesian men, to look at this painting and see what the woman is feeling, to understand her expression of muted exasperation for the subservient life that awaits her, and ultimately to find understanding and respect for women as full partners to men. [End Page ix]

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Untitled, by Brian Feni (Solomon Islands). 2013.

Acrylic on canvas. 300 mm × 400 mm.

In this painting, Brian Feni portrays the importance of passing on the ways of Malaita and Solomon Islands life and culture by telling stories. He imparts genealogical and cultural knowledge through art. Brian uses painting to address hardships and challenges faced in life, and, rather than stepping away, he faces them straight on. [End Page x]

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Save the Sinking Art & Culture, by Joe Nalo (Papua New Guinea). 2012.

Watercolor on paper. 420 mm × 279 mm.

Collection of the Solomon Islands National Museum and Art Gallery.

Joe Nalo, who was among Papua New Guinea’s first contemporary artists and went on to teach others at the National Arts School, shared exquisite watercolors and several acrylic paintings in the visual arts exhibition at the Solomon Islands National Art Gallery. Joe has...