Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fijian artifacts in Cambridge

from w
The Fiji media have run brief articles about a project to sort and display Fijian artifacts that 'belong' to Cambridge University in England. But the articles are almost identical with a handout from the Fiji government. I have altered one article a little, and in ten minutes found out much more information. Why don't the journalists take the time and bother to write their own versions with just a little bit of research on the web?

MAIKA BOLATIKI in the Fiji Sun.
A  three-year Fijian Art Project in the United Kingdom  is a collaborative three-year project, starting from May 2012 to April 2014, which aims to unlock the potential of the outstanding collections of Fijian art, material culture and associated photographs and archives, held in museums in the United Kingdom.
The bulk of these Fijian collections have never been displayed, nor have they ever been thoroughly researched or documented.
The project involves cataloguing about 3000 Fijian artefacts from the 18th century collected by traders, missionaries, whalers and colonial officials during their visits to Fiji.  They aim to carry out a major exhibition of Fijian artefacts in the UK in the summer of 2013.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Solo Mara said.
“Fijian artworks catalogued so far are visually impressive and beautifully made. They include sculptures in wood and ivory, shell and ivory regalia, ritual equipment, weapons, pottery and large decorated textiles. Central to pre-Christian and post-conversion religious practices, and often heavily Tongan-influenced, many of these objects played an active role in British-Fijian relations because of their voyaging, missionary and colonial ties, resulting in significant collections being held in UK museums.”

He said the project’s most extensive collections-based research will be conducted at the MAA in Cambridge, which holds probably the most important collection of Fijian objects, outside of Fiji.
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Welcome to the Fijian Art Research Project

Fijian Art: political power, sacred value, social transformation and collecting since the 18th century is anArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) sponsored research project that is being jointly hosted by the Sainsbury Research Unit (SRU) at the University of East Anglia and theMuseum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) at the University of Cambridge. The collaborative 3-year project, set to run from May 2011 to April 2014, aims to unlock the potential of the outstanding collections of Fijian art, material culture and associated photographs and archives held in museums in the United Kingdom and abroad. The bulk of these Fijian collections have never been displayed, nor have they ever been thoroughly researched or documented.
Fijian artworks are visually impressive and beautifully made; they include sculptures in wood and ivory, shell and ivory regalia, ritual equipment, weapons, pottery and large decorated textiles. Central to pre-Christian and post-conversion religious practices, and often heavily Tongan-influenced, many of these objects played an active role in British-Fijian relations because of their voyaging, missionary and colonial ties, resulting in significant collections being held in UK museums. The project’s most extensive collections-based research will be conducted at the MAA in Cambridge, which holds probably the most important collection of Fijian objects, outside of Fiji, in the world.
By collaborating with other museums, in particular the project’s nine official project partners, the dynamic diversity of Fijian art since the 18th century will be systematically researched, analysed, documented and identified. Other museums housing Fijian material will also participate in the project, as will the National Archives. These collaborative partnerships will allow Fijian collections to be made more accessible and also enhance existing museum records via expert identification and analysis.
Among the main objectives of the project is to contribute to significant knowledge-transfer by disseminating research results to the broadest range of academic and public audiences. This objective will be achieved through exhibitions, catalogues, publications, outreach programmes and conferences. The project's outputs will enable UK and overseas museums to display and interpret their Fijian material for the benefit of multiple stakeholders, including the British-Fijian communities in the United Kingdom as well as the global Fijian population.


http://www.fijianart.sru.uea.ac.uk/


Fijian Art Research Project team undertakes a major research visit to Fiji, Australia and New Zealand (24/9/2012)

Several members of the project team visited Fiji, Australia and New Zealand this September, conducting research into museum collections and archives. From mid-August, Lucie Carreau was conducting research in Fiji, tracing the subject locations of watercolour landscape paintings made by Constance Gordon Cumming during the 1870s. In New Zealand, Steven Hooper spent the early part of September examining Western Polynesian collections at the Auckland War Memorial Museum with curator of Pacific material Fuli Pereira, and discussing the project with staff at the University of Auckland's Department of Pacific Studies.
In Fiji, Steven and Lucie were joined by Anita Herle, Karen Jacobs and Fiji's own Fergus Clunie. While Steven, Fergus and Karen focused their attentions on the unparalleled collections of the Fiji Museum with the assistance of Sagale Buadromo and her staff, Anita was particularly keen to also review rare documents in the National Archives of Fiji. The highlight of the team's visit was an audience with His Excellency, the President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, to update him on the project's progress. The team had the rare honour of paying a visit to the historic chiefly island of Bau, realising an ambition that some had held for many years. During their time in Fiji, the team also discussed issues of Fijian heritage with representatives of the iTaukei Trust Fund Board.
The second half of September saw the team move on to Australia, where they examined the fine Fijian collections of the Australian Museum in Sydney and the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum. Much valuable research work was also conducted on the unique archival collections of the Mitchell Library.





Double-figure ‘god-image’; whale ivory, beads; 12.2cm; early 19th century, probably made by Tongan craftsmen resident in Fiji. Acquired by Sir Arthur Gordon, first Governor of Fiji, 1875-80. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 1955.247 (photo: University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology).

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.