Oceania Centre: Gallery of Oceanian Art

Gallery Opening poster by Josua Toganivalu. Image via artist.

The Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture and Pacific Studies at The University of the South Pacific in Suva opens its new gallery space, Gallery of Oceanian Art, next week with an exhibition.

The exhibition will feature some of the  artists that have been associated with the the Oceania Centre since it’s humble beginnings in 1997.

Established by the late academic and visionary Epeli Hau’ofa, the Oceania Centre is a space where Oceanic identity is expressed through painting, sculpture, music, and dance.

My association with the Oceania Centre began in 1998 when I attended a workshop run by John Pule. Twelve of us attended that first workshop : Alma Wright, Dulcie Stewart, Josua Toganivalu, Lingikoni Vaka’uta, Meli Laddpeter, Premila Devi, Rusiate Lali, Sangeeta Singh and I cannot for the life of me remember the others!

Red Wave Collective was formed after that workshop. The name Red Wave comes from the Fijian word biau kula or Tongan peau kula for tidal wave, literally red wave.

Apart from the Red Wave, the Oceania Centre is also home for the Oceania Dance Theatre, which for years was under the guidance of Choreographer and Artistic Director, Allan Alo. Allan returned home to Samoa earlier this year.

The Newsounds Studio was formed in 2001 under the musical direction of Calvin Rore. The Newsounds Studio has produced creative works from across the Pacific Region and beyond, through recording and producing music for various CD compilations, music and dance productions and festivals.

Under the guidance of the Centre’s new Director, Vilsoni Hereniko – the Oceania Centre continues to grow with the opening of the Gallery of Oceanian Art.

My digital prints an/other oceania will be on exhibition at the opening of the new gallery space.

an/other oceania | Dulcie Stewart | 12 Digital prints.
Individual prints: 254mm x 254mm | 2010-2011.

The 12 digital prints are inspired by a series of photographs I have published online called i see oceania.

 “As a person born of oceania, living and travelling cities of concrete and steel, I catch a glimpse of oceania everywhere. Be it people, trees, shadows, buildings etc…i see oceania.” [Extract from i see oceania blog]

an/other oceania are snapshots of buildings, public transport, bridges, iconic structures, pylon, man holes, drainage grates, even shadows that have Pacific motifs.

The use of geometric designs and repetitive linear lines is prominent in traditional (like tatau, tapa, woven mats, adornments etc.) and contemporary Pacific art. an/other oceania is my interpretation of these geometric and linear lines in diaspora.

Read more about i see oceania and the an/other ocenia series here.

Gallery of Oceanian Art

Official opening: 30 August 2011.

Open to the public from 31 August.

Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00am-4:00pm

University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus
Suva, Fiji

Johanna Beasley
Visual Arts Coordinator, Oceania Centre
Phone: (679) 3232833

Website: http://www.usp.ac.fj/index.php?id=8707


3 thoughts on “Oceania Centre: Gallery of Oceanian Art

  1. ~ Tia says:

    A major disappointment at the gallery opening was the basic lack of historical context and no mention whatsoever of the Oceania Center’s humble beginnings and 13 years of open-space exhibitions first in the front space and then later in the ‘performance space’ of OCAC. (15 years if you count the first workshop and exhibit held in 1996!) Particularly off-putting was the fact that there was no reflection on the progress and development of the visual arts over past decade and a half.

    There was no mention of the artists who had been through the space or the achievements of visual arts over this period and the numerous awards that the various artists have attained locally, regionally and internationally.

    An added irony is the fact that the “Oceanian Art gallery” opened with a small selection of Fiji artists with no mention of regional artists from Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Kiribati who have been based at and worked out of OCAC. There was no reference to the early workshops or to Red Wave for that matter.

    Here’s hoping this changes with time.

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