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George Nuku’s trip around the world lands in Rochefort

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"I came to France with the intention of continuing the story.
In one respect, I am literally walking out of the lithographs.
I’m coming out of the picture and I’m in a repeat performance here in Rochefort.
However, the difference is that now the context has changed because this is all history. So the place where this context continues is in the museum."1

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Ten Canoes : a film between historical reenactment, myths and fiction

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[Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article may contain images or names of deceased persons in photographs or printed material.]

Ten Canoes (10 canoes, 150 spears and three wives) is a film about Arnhem Land and its people, made with and by them. It is a film for Indigenous people and it is also an ambassador film for Aboriginal culture and therefore also made for an audience outside this culture. It is a story of forbidden love, brotherly bonds, kidnapping, witchcraft and revenge, treated with poetry and humour. In short, this is a rich work that CASOAR really recommends! Read More

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Covid-19: update on the situation in Papua New Guinea

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As a new lockdown begins in France, many envy Australians and New Zealanders who have been able to enjoy bars, restaurants and even nightclubs for several weeks. However, the situation is far from being the same in the whole Pacific, and is even worrying in places like Papua New Guinea (PNG). This week we take a look at the latest news on this health crisis. 

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From Blandowski to Andrew: the story of an encyclopaedia

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Since the 1990s, an “archival turn” has been happening in contemporary art in Australia1  where artists have been engaging with archives, whether it be in museums, libraries, or archives per se. An influential artist at the forefront of this “new” movement re-reading the archive is the Wirardjuri (NSW, Australia)/Celtic ‘conceptual artist’2 Brook Andrew. Artist Brook Andrew can be regarded as an ‘archival mediator’3  who ‘remak[es and] remark[s …] anthropological or ethnographic objects’.4 It is his work The Island created in 2007-2008 after encountering Read More

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From Exotic Curiosities to Primitivism

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This article was first written for the catalogue of the Bourgogne Tribal show's third edition in 2018.

"You walk towards Auteuil you want to go home on foot
To sleep among your Oceanic and Guinean fetishes
They are Christs of another shape and another creed."
Guillaume Apolinaire, « Zone », 1913.

These lines by poet Guillaume Apollinaire testify to his early interest in non-European art. The year was 1913, on the eve of the First World War, and his famous collection of poems Alcools, had just been published. Apollinaire did not know then that the West was about to change the way it looked at Pacific objects. This metamorphosis would deeply mark the history of the arts and ethnographic museums. Read More

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Visual repatriation: creating a present for the past

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        As Elizabeth Edwards has argued, visual repatriation is, in many ways, about finding a present for historical photographs, realising their ‘potential to seed a number of narratives’ through which to make sense of that past in the present and make it fulfil the needs of the present.”1 Edwards explains how visual repatriation is first a way for both Indigenous people and collections holders to shed light on groups of photographs, usually taken in the 19th and 20th centuries, and try to get information about these photographs. More importantly, visual repatriation can be said to allow one to generate narratives which bridge the gap between past and present. Read More

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“And Viot once again left for the Tropics” *

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This article was first written for the catalogue of the Bourgogne Tribal show's third edition in 2018.

      “A poet without a publishing house or work”1Jacques Viot entered the world of Parisian galleries and, more particularly, the surrealist scene in the 1920s. He represented artists like Joan Miró. After working for several artists and galleries and being deep in debt, Viot sailed the Pacific in 1926. After coming back to Paris in 1928, he got back in touch with Pierre Loeb who had had a gallery in Paris since 1924. Viot had worked with him before his departure. Viot suggested that he go to the South Seas in order to bring back objects that were fashionable at the time, particularly among surrealists. Read More

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Climate change and environmental disruptions in Pacific contemporary arts

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       In last week’s article, CASOAR presented the exhibition À toi appartient le regard (…) et la liaison infinie entre les choses (musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac) which focuses on contemporary photography. We mentioned several artists who use their art as a platform to discuss the environmental changes caused by pollution and global warming. Today, we are having a look at some Pacific contemporary artworks that deal with these themes. Read More

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Is there such a creature as “traditional culture”? *

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As explained by Sean Mallon in his now famous ‘Against Tradition’ (2010), the story began with Samoan writer Albert Wendt. While Wendt started his discussion on the word “tradition” and its use in the 1970s, the debate took a larger scope in the 1990s, as he was working on the creation of a museum - Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand – as member of the Pacific Advisory Committee. Wendt had a simple request then: to abandon the term “traditional art”1 in the future museum. But why?

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Tearing away coloniality: a "way of seeing" in between

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Je ne suis pas une fa’afafine, je ne suis pas gay, je ne suis pas transgenre, je suis juste un être humain et je suis ici pour secouer ».1

        Tuisina Ymania Brown's words at a panel entitled ''Fa'afafine Towards Decolonization''. She refers to the Western desire to categorize human beings and identities. Against this Western desire to classify and categorize, CASOAR will talk about a photographic series made by the artist Yuki Kihara. This series Fa’afafine. In the Manner of Women including three self-portraits was created in collaboration with the photographer Sean Coyle. But who is Yuki Kihara? Read More