This body of work, continues to develop and utilise a concept that challenges the separation of human bodies within museum display of historical Pacific objects, particularly from Melanesia. The universal use of coconut sennit across the Pacific can be seen in many objects and architectural structures to reinforce or to secure. Coconut sennit is also the same fibre, which is used to thread the small shells around cane to make historical Tolai Midi. Once collected, Pacific objects were proof of existence of ‘other’ peoples in lands faraway.
Many museums across the globe that publicly present Pacific materiality are generally bereft of any human element related to its display. It is the public and online presentation of the same objects, which has rendered Pacific identity, cultural significance and visibility within museums and art institutions. The majority of Pacific material culture that exists in museums is generally of a practical or utilitarian use. Following on from my previous work In a bind, I became interested in replicating a space that was devoid of any references, or cultural context, similar to the ethnographic photo-documentation of Melanesian objects, which usually shows an artefact floating in black or muted colour space.
Body as artefact (2015-2016) inkjet prints 594 mm x 420 mm
Images 1,2,6 & 12 – Kirsten Lyttle
Images 3,4,5,7,8,9,10 & 11 – Julia Mage’au Gray