THE 2016 EPELI HAU’OFA LECTURE

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When: Thursday, 17th November 2016
Where: Building Y3A, Macquarie University
Time: 2pm-4pm
Cost: Free

Join us when Dr Peter Brunt will deliver the 2016 AAPS annual Epeli Hau’ofa lecture at Macquarie University.

The Epeli Hau’ofa lecture, an annual national event of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies (AAPS), showcases key senior scholars working in the field of Pacific Studies. It extends the expansive, criss-crossing, connective, collaborative Oceanic vision of Fiji-based Tongan scholar and writer Epeli Hau’ofa. In 2016, the lecture will be hosted by Macquarie’s Pacific Research Cluster.

Dr Brunt’s teaching, research and curatorial interests focus on art and cross-cultural exchange in the Pacific from the late eighteenth century to the present, with a special interest in the development of Indigenous modernisms and Contemporary Pacific art in the ‘post-colonial’ era. He is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington. A widely known and highly esteemed New Zealand-Samoan scholar, he has co-edited Art in Oceania: A New History (Thames & Hudson 2012, Yale UP 2013), and is the co-curator of the forthcoming exhibition Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2018.

Abstract – Dwelling in Travel: Indigeneity, Cosmopolitanism and Island Modernism

Oceanic modernism was a movement born in the cosmopolitan spaces of the urban Pacific, in towns and cities full of urbanised Islanders, rural migrants, settlers, expats, travellers and tourists. Yet travel and cosmopolitanism are not usually associated with the concept of indigeneity, with its strong connotation of attachment to place. The native was supposed to stay put, while the cosmopolitan travelled the world. Modernism reinscribed this myth because while its admiration for ‘primitive art’ was central to its own identity, it saw it as the opposite of the modern. The authenticity of Oceanic (African or Native American) art was determined by its pre-modernity; to be an Oceanic modernist was like a contradiction in terms. This lecture will focus on three pioneers of Oceanic modernism who turned this myth on its head: Wallis Islander Aloi Pilioko, Papua New Guinean Highlander Mathias Kauage and Maori Ralph Hotere. Each embraced the opportunities of travel and the artistic orientation of cosmopolitan modernists. But what, we must ask, if we are not repeat the binary construction of Western modernism, was the relationship between their cosmopolitan modernism and their indigeneity?

The public lecture will be preceded (10am-12pm) by a Masterclass for postgraduate students working in any area of Pacific Studies. Please contact alice.tepungasomerville@mq.edu.au or karin.speedy@mq.edu.au for more information.

Click here to register

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