A spectacular survey of the artistic traditions of Oceania, spanning the islands’ initial settlement in the prehistoric era through the 21st century
Masks and figural sculptures are the most familiar examples of the visual culture of Oceania, yet they provide only a glimpse of the fascinating art of this diverse region. Artisans of the Pacific Islands and Australia have produced objects ranging from stained and beaten fabric, rock engravings, and woven containers to tattooed and painted bodies, drawings on sand and paper, and contemporary installation art. This survey looks at the full range of objects created over several millennia, spanning the settlement of Oceania in the prehistoric period to the present day.
Lavishly illustrated and encyclopedic in scope, this landmark book places the art of Oceania in its comprehensive and often complex historical context. Essays by leading scholars offer a fresh approach to archaeological findings; the impacts of migration, trade, warfare, and colonization; the influence of materials, ritual, dance, and religion; and the roles of photography, tourism, nationalism, and popular culture. Featuring a rich selection of previously unpublished materials and accompanied by commentary from contemporary practitioners, Art in Oceania: A New History is essential reading, offering an important reinterpretation of existing scholarship, and a dynamic introduction to Oceanic artistic traditions in the 21st century.
About the Author
Peter Brunt is a senior lecturer in art history at Victoria University of Wellington. Nicholas Thomas is director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and professor of historical anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
"Ambitious and brilliantly successful. The collaborative scope is unprecedented. Each chapter is a revelatory essay, filled with astonishing images and evocative quotations, grounded in the latest critical scholarship. This volume sets a new standard for the cultural history of a complex, dynamic region."--James Clifford, Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, University of California, Santa Cruz
— James Clifford
" A brilliant and highly original achievement. Nuanced, multi-disciplinary, and fully collaborative in authorship and spirit. Incorporating both the most recent scholarly research and contemporary art forms, this book will undoubtedly stand as the definitive introduction and reference work on the rich and diverse arts of Pacific peoples for many years to come."--Ruth B. Phillips, Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture and Professor of Art History, Carleton University
— Ruth B. Phillips