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Curator’s introduction – Oceania


Friday 5 October 2018
11am — 12pm

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John Pule, Kehe tau hauaga foou (To all new arrivals) (detail), 2007.

Enamel, oil, pencil, pastel, oil stick and ink on canvas. 270 X 220 cm. Auckland Art Gallery © John Pule.

Oceania co-curator, Dr. Peter Brunt introduces the exhibition Oceania, giving an insight into the significance of the ocean – as both element and idea – for one of the most significant art-producing regions in the world.

Commemorating two serendipitous anniversaries – the founding of the Royal Academy in 1768 and the departure of Captain Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific the same year – Oceania is a momentous exhibition that explores the art of one of the most ancient, diverse and artistically prolific civilisations in the world.

The term “Oceania” was coined in the early nineteenth century as part of territorial maps that ultimately saw the region colonised by European and American empires. In the late 20th century however, Oceania has been reclaimed by Pacific Islanders in ways that are still unfolding. It is a key concept in the rediscovery of a history traversing the entire Pacific Ocean of exploration, settlement, place-making, trade and interaction that gave rise to the hundreds of Indigenous cultures that persist today. But Oceania has also been invoked as a critical and utopian concept. In this talk, curator Peter Brunt will examine this multifaceted idea through a discussion of key works in the exhibition and give fascinating insights into the story of its making.

Dr. Peter Brunt is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington where he teaches Pacific art with a research focus on Oceanic modernisms and contemporary art in the postwar era. He is co-curator of Oceania with Professor Nicholas Thomas, with whom he also co-edited the multi-authored book, Art in Oceania: A New History, winner of the 2013 Author’s Club prize. He received his PhD from Cornell University and has published widely in journals, edited books and exhibition catalogues on art in the Pacific. Peter was born in New Zealand to migrant parents and is of Samoan and English descent.

This event will be accompanied by BSL interpretation.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Friday 5 October 2018

11am — 12pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£10, £6 concessions