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In May 2006 some fifteen artists from New Zealand took over the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge (UK) as part of Pasifika Styles, a groundbreaking experiment in the display of contemporary Pacific art. Installing their works in cases next to Taonga or treasures collected on the voyages of Cook and Vancouver, the artists flung open the stores of the museum to bring more of the museums unparalleled Oceanic collections to light. At the opening of the exhibtion, the song of ancient instruments played by contemporary musicians called historic artefacts to life, heralding a new era of collaborative curatorship to enthnographic museums. Over the next two years, visiting artists continued to bring vitality to the collections, offering workshops, seminars, public activities and a festival of performing arts. This book describes the making of Pasifika Styles, from the perspective of the artists, museum professional and scholars involved in this pioneering project, placing it in the context of current debates about museums, cultural property and art.
About the Author
Rosanna Raymond is an artist, performer and freelance curator who helped to establish the Pasifika Festival in Auckland. Now based in London, she has curated exhibitions at a variety of UK venues and undertaken residencies in Britatin, the US and France. Amiria Salmod is a curator and lecturer at the University of Cambridge. She has produced exhibitions at the Tairiwhiti Museum in New Zealand, and studies and practices Maori weaving. Her book Museums, Anthropology and Imperial Exchange has been published by Cambridge UIniversity Press, and a co-edited volume, Thinking through things: theorising artifacts ethnographically, has recently come out with Routledge.