#TeamMela @ PATAKA


#TeamMela {Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Vanuatu and West Papua}

Pacific art in New Zealand tends to be poly-centric*. For many in New Zealand and perhaps in Australia as well, Polynesian and Pacific Islander are interchangeable. #TeamMelanesia and #TeamMicronesia don’t exist.

So it’s always refreshing to see exhibitions centred on #TeamMela in New Zealand.

PATAKA in Porirua, Wellington currently has two exhibitions showcasing Melanesia. The Black Islands is a photography exhibition by Ben Bohane and Baskets of Melanesia features baskets from all over Melanesia. Both exhibitions weaving images and stories of the past and present.

The Black Islands
Spirit and War in Melanesia

Photographs by Ben Bohane
2 February – 21 April 2013


The Black Islands is an exhibition of photographs by Australian photo-journalist Ben Bohane who is based in Vanuatu.

Bohane has been a photo-journalist in the Pacific since 1994 documenting  Kastom or customary resistance and rituals, political and revolutionary aspects in Melanesia, that includes the Bougainville conflicts, West Papua struggle for freedom, to the Fiji coups and many more.

His black and white photographs not only documents Melanesia from a journalistic point of view but explores culture in its people, landscape, totems and architectural details. Bohane’s photographs reveal the turbulent, layered relationships between traditional kastom beliefs and Christianity embroiled into the social and political movements of the area.

Apart from this touring exhibition, Bohane is working on a book with the same title The Black Islands – Spirit and War in Melanesia.

You can view some of Bohane’s photographs from The Black Islands in this video by Degree South, an Australian photo collective made up of eight photojournalists, including Bohane.

Baskets of Melanesia

9 March – 23 June 2013


This exhibition showcases the craft of basket making throughout the Melanesian Islands and explores the different materials used, the shapes and forms of the woven baskets and their traditional uses.

The exhibition features baskets from Timor Leste, Irian Jaya West Papua, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Baskets of Melanesia will be the first exhibition of its type and size to be held in New Zealand.

PATAKA art + museum 

PATAKA, which has become the cultural heart of Porirua City, opened in 1998. In the 15 years since then the museum and gallery, which is about 15 minutes drive from central Wellington, has developed a reputation for showcasing the best in contemporary Maori and Pacific Arts, as well as contemporary New Zealand, Asian and international arts & culture.

Cnr Norrie and Parumoana Streets, PO Box 50 218, Porirua City, 5240, New Zealand // Ph: +64 4 237 1511 – Fax: +64 4 237 4527

Hours:  Mon – Sat: 10:00 – 16:30 Sun: 11:00 – 16:30

Website: http://www.pataka.org.nz/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PatakaMuseumOfArtsAndCultures

*poly-centric (not to be confused with polycentric) is a word I coined meaning Polynesian centered or focused. poly-centric is intended to have a negative connotation.

#TeamMelanesia #TeamMela, #TeamMicronesia #TeamPoly #TeamPasifika etc are searchable hashtags used by Pacific Islanders on Twitter and Instagram.

Sources: Information and images via Pataka website. Video of The Black Islands by Ben Bohane via Degree South websiteImage of #TeamMelanesia @ Pataka by Dulcie Stewart of Urban Viti using images from Pataka.


One thought on “#TeamMela @ PATAKA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s