The images selected for this exhibition date back to the 1870s and reveal views of fragile, flourishing and diverse ecosystems nurtured by Pacific Islander peoples during a time of colonisation. Full of promise and purpose these views are joined with Pacific Islander voices of our own time. Through audio recordings, oration and poetry, the resonating voices and songs of Pacific peoples connect contemporary culture to the histories captured in these photographs.
We belong to Oceania. We belong to a diverse sea of moving islands, peoples, cultures, languages, and ecologies. We belong to a legacy of navigation that teaches us how to read the stars, waves, currents, winds, and horizons. Pacific Islanders peopled Oceania thousands of years ago and developed complex societies based on the values of interconnection, harmony, balance, sustainability, and respect. We named and recognized the sacredness of waters and lands. We storied our new homes with songs, poems, and chants.
This exhibition draws on the Macleay Collection of historic photography, which contains over 7200 images of the Pacific region.
Until Sunday 24 July 2022.
Featured image: China Straits from Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea, 1929. Photographer William J Jackson, Macleay Collections, HP2013.1.2