'Tidal Kin' exhibition photo

Tidal Kin

Stories from the Pacific
'Tidal Kin' reclaims the stories of eight Pacific Islander visitors to Sydney during the 18th and 19th centuries. Alongside cultural objects, a soundscape of voices of present-day compatriots and descendants recount their ancestors’ stories in their own languages.

'Tidal Kin' sheds light on Sydney as a significant Pacific port, thriving with travel, trade, rivalries, and celebrations. The exhibition chronicles a transformative maritime era; with the burgeoning presence of Europeans in Sydney, the great Ocean witnessed competing quests for power, from commerce to Christianity. The exhibition begins in April 1770 when Tupaia, a Ra’iatean navigator and Tahitian priest, stepped ashore at Kamay (Botany Bay), alongside James Cook and Joseph Banks. It concludes in 1882 with the arrival of Phebe Parkinson, an enterprising Samoan-born businesswoman. 

Once a welcoming Pacific hub, Sydney changed in 1901 with the advent of Federation, and the implementation of the White Australia Policy. This marked the gradual erosion of the shared Pacific histories that once flourished in the region. 'Tidal Kin – Stories from the Pacific' reclaims these histories.

Header image: Conch (triton) shell trumpet, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, before 1891, ET2019.25

Level 3, Power Gallery

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