Friday, May 31, 2013

Should Fijian art and crafts be repatriated?

from w
Browsing the net for something else, I discovered that for three years archivists in England have been collecting and putting together Fijian cultural items of art and craft, some going back over 140 years. This is at the University of East Anglia.  I do wonder about intellectual property rights and whether the items collected during the 19th century ought to one day be given back to Fiji. I know that some items in the Melbourne office of the Uniting Church were given back.

A website has an interesting article - 16 pages - which includes a description of how Baron von Hugel collected the Fijian artifacts before 1870.   Go to

Von Hügel's curiosity - Hau
by N Thomas - 2011 - Related articles
He had died in 1870; Baron Anatole, as he became, had indeed ... ―Introduction‖ to their 1990 edition of von Hügel's Fiji journals (Roth and Hooper. 1990) ...

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is hosting the first ever exhibition dedicated to Fijian Art outside Fiji. It draws on MAA’s exceptional collection of Fijian artefacts, photographs and archives, a collection closely linked to the early colonial history of Fiji and the foundation of the Museum.
Baron Anatole von Hügel, MAA’s first curator, travelled within Fiji between 1874 and 1877, a period coinciding with Fiji’s entry into the British Empire. Along with Sir Arthur Gordon (First Governor of Fiji) and Alfred Percival Maudslay (Sir Arthur’s private secretary), von Hügel assembled an impressive Fijian collection, including outstanding objects presented by Fijian and Tongan chiefs. This material formed the founding ethnographic collection of the Museum when it opened in 1884. The opening of this exhibition in June 2013 marks the centenary of the Museum moving to its current building on Downing Street.
Chiefs & Governors: Art and Power in Fiji
Chiefs & Governors: Art and Power in Fiji
Chiefs & Governors introduces important aspects of Fijian art and culture and highlights key moments of Fijian pre-colonial and colonial history. Combining historical and contemporary objects and installations, Chiefs and Governors emphasises the dynamism and creativity of Fiji.
A catalogue will accompany the exhibition: Chiefs & Governors: Art and Power in Fiji by Anita Herle & Lucie Carreau.
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