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Made in Oceania: Tapa – Art and Social Landscapes

By: Latitudes

Exhibition: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne – Cultures of the World

How do James Cook, the Bounty mutineers and about 15 million people in Oceania connect? By a unique fabric, made from the bark of tress. From clothing in Hawaï to ritual masks in Papua New Guinea, from a room divider in Fiji to an important wedding gift in Samoa or even as the “red carpet” during coronation ceremonies in Tonga – Tapa can be found nearly everywhere in the Pacific and is the material expression of Pacific identity. In the rest of the world, this material is still largely unknown.

Photo by: Rautenstrach-Joest Museum

Covering some 1400m² the RJM’s new special exhibition “Made in Oceania: Tapa – Art and Social Landscapes” presents a number of unique masterpieces from the museum’s own collection in combination with loans from major institutions such as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington or the Australian Museum in Sydney. Many of these will be shown in Europe for the first time. The exhibition brings together tapa from Papua-New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Futuna, Niue, and Fiji. The selection ranges from the oldest objects dating back to the 18th century – the Cook collection – to over 30 contemporary artworks by renowned Polynesian or Melanesian artists like John Pule, Fatu Akelei Feu’u, Michel Tuffery, Shigeyuki Kihara, Timothy Akis and Mathias Kauage.

Exhibition: Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Cologne – Cultures of the World
2.10.2013 – 27.04.2014

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