Pacific Media Watch

29 May 2014

REGION: Artists, writers to celebrate culture with 'Tungaru - the Kiribati project'

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Artist Chris Charteris at work. Image: Auckland Museum

AUCKLAND (Auckland Museum / Pacific Media Watch): A new museum exhibition in New Zealand is set to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Kiribati Independence Day.

"Tungaru: The Kiribati Project"  will open at the Auckland Museum and Mangere Arts Centre in July.

Tungaru is the pre-colonial name for Kiribati.

The exhibition features artists Chris Charteris (sculptor, carver and jewellery maker) and Jeff Smith (director, designer, filmmaker, 3D animator and musician).

It will display traditional artefacts from the Museum’s Pacific collection alongside a selection of new works from Charteris, an interactive Kiribati warrior created by Smith, and archival film footage of Kiribati.

The project was born out of Charteris’ desire to return to his ancestral homeland, Kiribati, to meet family and experience life on these tiny strips of atoll.

“I was really taken by the simplicity of life on the outer islands. Their lifestyle now is much the same as it has been for centuries. They live in a completely sustainable way even with very few natural resources available” says Charteris.

Always with a camera in hand, Smith was there to capture much of the journey. “We were welcomed with open arms throughout our journey; the generosity that we were met with was very humbling” says Smith.

The exhibition also references the larger global issues of climate change, over-population and threats to traditional cultures.

A book, Tungaru: The Kiribati Project, which includes contributions from arts writer Mark Amery, poet Teresia Teaiwa, NIWA scientist Doug Ramsay and Marion Melk Koch, as well as photos from the journey to Kiribati and the artworks, is due to be released in July.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.


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