home | lectures | memberships | publications | collections | contactus | links | calendar  

village night

Welcome to the Oceanic Art Society

Welcome to the Oceanic Art Society, a non-profit organisation, founded in Australia, whose main aim is to further and promote the understanding and appreciation of Oceanic art.

The Oceanic Art Society (OAS) holds regular presentations and seminars throughout the year. These have included presentations by leading international authorities, illustrated talks by field collectors, film screenings presented by their makers and presentations by curators of art gallery and museum exhibitions.


Address by OAS Editor, Dr James Elmslie for the current issue of OAS Journal, which is available to all with membership .

PLUMES and GODS! and the OAS Journal to finally go online.
One can only say that Oceanic Art has come of age if the spectacular shows that have opened in the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian National Gallery are anything to go by. Both Plumes and pearlshells and Atua: Gods of Polynesia are world-class, must-see exhibitions that have been years in the making. Each takes the viewer into the heart of what Oceanic art is all about: from an intense examination of a specific time in the New Guinea Highlands, to a sweeping survey from the world’s leading institutions of the greatest collection of Polynesian God-figures ever assembled. Lovers of Oceanic Art must truly thank destiny, or at least Natalie Wilson and Mike Gunn, for putting these shows together and helping to elevate Oceanic art to its rightful place as an integral part in the pantheon of human artistic expression. This edition of the OAS Journal reports back on the lavish opening ceremonies in Sydney and Canberra.
Meanwhile, the OAS Committee has been investigating the options of putting the OAS journal online. In the latest edition of the OAS Journal we publish three letters from OAS members responding to our call for comment on the online debate. We are greatly appreciative of this feedback and remind OAS members that letters to the editor on any subject are always welcome. Factoring in these responses, and the many discussions and hours of research undertaken, the OAS Committee is pleased to announce that a portion of the OAS Journal will be going online, starting with this edition. At a meeting held in Sydney on June 16th it was agreed to continue printing the OASJ in hardcopy but to have available for viewing  an online version of the Journal that shows  each article in summary form with the Front Page and/or a few key articles published in full. This will allow the OASJ to reach out to a far larger audience and attract new members. Online only membership (where members do not receive a hardcopy of the Journal) may be progressively implemented using one of the existing internet platforms dedicated to E-publishing. The brave new world of the OAS Journal in cyberspace has finally arrived!
I would like to take this opportunity to again call on members, and indeed interested and qualified non-members, to continue to submit articles for publication. We will also be ‘mining’ back issues of the OAS Newsletter for outstanding articles to republish. In addition to our scholarly  papers , the lecture reports; book reviews; interviews with leading personalities in the field of Oceanic art and our examination of exceptional pieces, the Journal will continue to be full of absorbing information aimed at ‘furthering the appreciation and understanding of Oceanic art’: the Society’s remit. In this edition we are fortunate to have an over view of the Vatican’s extraordinary collection (such as the featured Mekeo head dress) by expert, Dr Katherine Aigner; a look at the Auckland Museum and Art Gallery by Marina Garlick, as well as a taste of the forthcoming lectures by Rebecca Conway on the images held by the Macleay Museum, and Kevin Conru on two of his recent (with other authors) books: Bismarck Archipelago Art and Masterpieces-New Guinea Art from the Royal Museum of Central Africa. These two  half hour talks are scheduled for July 16 at 6.30 pm at the Australian Museum.
On a final note I would like to congratulate the new Chief Executive of the Australian Museum, Kim McKay, on her win in securing $7.2 million in funding from the NSW State Government for a refurbishment and expansion of the Museum. A revamped main entrance will be built in William Street, there will be enlarged gallery spaces (the first for 30 years) and a new rooftop restaurant. It is planned that the Museum’s vast and unique Pacific Collection will at last have a permanent home on public display. The OAS Journal will bring more news on this welcome development in our next edition.
Jim Elmslie
June 2014


Coming Lectures:

July 16th Wednesday - 6.30pm for 7:00 Australian Museum. Rebecca Conway, curator ethnography, Macleay Museum:  Points of Focus: Historic photographs from the Pacific. Followed by Kevin Conru discussing the latest books: Bismark Archipelago Art, and
Masterpieces, New Guinea Art.

Venue: Australian Museum, entry via William Street, 6.30 pm refreshments for 7pm start.  Cost $15.  OAS and Australian Museum members $10.  Students with ID $5. Bookings requested for catering purposes - email: or telephone: 61 2 9332 3984.  Speakers Rebecca Conway and Kevin Conru,

OAS facebook

Background photo: courtesy of Nathan Potts

copyright © designed by Jerry Liew 2011