Royal Academy Compels a Generation of New Voyagers at Riveting Oceania Exhibition
“Quite the most striking thing about this exhibition on the art of the Pacific islands is the sheer scale of the area it covers: Oceania,” writes Melanie McDonagh in a review of the exhibition published in The Evening Standard. The exhibition “presents, quite plausibly, the art and culture of this vast region as a relatively coherent whole.”
“Then there’s the temporal range of the exhibits. The islands were settled over centuries but the artefacts here are only datable from the time Captain Cook arrived in the Pacific in the mid-18th century to the present day.”
“Not surprisingly, then, the exhibition is ordered by themes, of which Voyaging and Navigation is the key to Oceania. There are intriguing navigational maps: criss-crossed lines made from wood, fibre and snail shells, which chart not longitude and latitude but ocean swells and perhaps the movement of birds and stars. It is in this sense that this exhibition is a depiction of a different way of thinking, a mindset,” writes McDonagh.
“Usefully, the exhibition helps debunk the notion that the contact between the colonising Cook and his successors and the indigenous inhabitants was altogether exploitative on the one side or merely threatening on the other.”
“This is an exhibition that brings together an extraordinary collection of bits and pieces from museum basements and collections and turns them into a riveting whole so a new generation can encounter Oceania. A feat,” writes McDonagh.
Article Source: Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh, September 26, 2018
Image Source: Twitter – Kopapa