Oceania at the RA


Here are some pictures from my visit(s) to the Oceania show at the Royal Academy.  The show marks 250 years since captain Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific.

a stylised human head holding a bird

The show is arranged in themes. The Nguzunguzu carving above is a canoe figurehead from the Solomon Islands which features in the first room along with canoes, paddles, maps and other voyaging art and objects.

There were some familiar works like the Papua New Guinea flute stopper above left and some things I’d never seen before like the fantastic necklace made of whale’s teeth, above right.

There are works from many parts of Oceania, contrasting the different styles that have evolved in different islands and regions. The first crocodile above is a canoe prow carving from Papua New Guinea while the second is from the Solomon Islands.

Styles vary within a region, such as the gods Ku and Lono from Hawaii above left and center, and from region to region— like the Papua New Guinea ancestor figure on the right.

The show is on until the 10th December so  there’s still time to go, don’t miss it!

The British museum

Here’s some pictures I took on a recent visit to the British Museum. Oceania isn’t particularly well represented there, I’m guessing the museum doesn’t have enough pieces to create a room, so they show what the do have alongside artefacts from other cultures under the theme ‘Living and Dying’.
Having said that there are some interesting pieces, including some impressive Maori carvings and an easter island Moai.

Adaro - a malevolent sea spiritThere’s also some cool stuff from the Solomon islands including an Adaro, an evil sea spirit which can kill by firing flying fish at unwary fishermen.

All in all it’s worth a trip, it’s free!
Apologies for the crap pictures, a combination of low lighting, it was busy and my camera was running out of batteries…
carved dog from the Solomon Islands
Solomon islands canoe prow