In this comprehensive survey of the art of the Pacific Islands, including the Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, and New Guinean traditions, author Anne D'Alleva explains the significance of these artworks by contextualizing them within each island's unique culture and practices. In the process, D'Alleva examines the biases of both artists and Western viewers, telling an important history of both people and ideas through a detailed analysis of sculpture, paintings, textiles, dance, jewelry, and architecture.
As these nations faced alternating periods of isolation, colonization, and contact with each other and the West, their forms of art were drastically altered to incorporate foreign influences and to develop autonomous identities and cultural independence. Therefore, their artistic practices explore the inherent tension between tradition and modernity within these communities. Ranging from the prehistoric period to the modern era, and accompanied by a timeline, bibliography, and glossary of terms, this book raises important questions for continued debate and study of the art of the Pacific Rim.