I received a lovely invitation to attend the launch preview of the Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia which is open now until Feb 12th 2017.
This is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Fiji ever assembled and the story behind this exciting exhibition is fascinating. Professor Steven Hooper became passionate about Pacific art when growing up at his grandfather’s private museum, the ‘Totems Museum’ in Arundel, Sussex. It was full of objects brought back from the Pacific as a result of Britain’s naval, missionary and colonial past. Professor Hooper went on to spend his life doing anthropological research in Fiji and together with Katria Igglesden and Karen Jacobs has spent over three years curating this exhibition.
Revealing stunning sculptures, textiles, ceramics, and ivory and shell regalia it takes you on a journey through the art and cultural history of Fiji since the late 18th century.
My highlights to look out for include:-
A small scale double-hulled sailing canoe – an eight metre-long which is made of indigenous materials including wood, coconut fibre cordage and a pandanus-leaf sail. It’s a small version of the great 19th Century voyaging canoes that were over 30m long and could carry 150 people.
A Tabua (Presentation Tooth)
This was presented to Her Majesty The Queen in Suva, on 17th December 1953. The Tabua is early to mid-19th Century Sperm whale ivory and there’s also a video of Her Majesty receiving it.
Large barkcloths dating back from 19th Century with stunning painted designs.
Fijian artworks – figure sculptures in wood, ivory and shell, plus ornaments and bowls and textiles.
Paintings – Look out for the a Victorian globetrotter, Constance Gordon Cumming’s 1870’s watercolours.
After seeing this fabulous exhibition Tourism Fiji invited everyone for a traditional lunch and to find out more about this exotic destination.
Tickets are available from SCVA (Full ticket price is £12).
Where: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich. NR4 7TJ.
Thank you to SCVA, Tourism Fiji and Visit Norwich.