Photo Caption: The 2012 OAS Forum at the SA Museum. Photo by Michelle Haywood.
2020 is a very significant milestone in the history of the Oceanic Art Society. As is outlined in former OAS President Crispin Howarth’s detailed history in this special 25th Anniversary edition, this is a remarkable achievement for the group of Oceanic Art enthusiasts who formed the Society out of both love for the art, culture and peoples of Oceania and also concern that the magnificent collections of that art held in Australian public institutions, including museums and art galleries, were not being made available to the museum public. The story of the continuing and expanding activities of the OAS is a testament to the passion and the spirit of this ongoing bunch of art-loving volunteers – congratulations to you all.
Reflections on the establishment and ongoing importance of the OAS from overseas members, Paris-based dealer Anthony JP Meyer and Michael Hamson from California are also included in this edition. This theme of looking at some of the many contributions continuing to be made by individuals to raise the visibility and understanding of Oceanic Art can also be found in a profile of collector and dealer, Todd Barlin and also Chris Boylan’s obituary to photographer and writer Jutta Malnic.
This continuing interest in Oceanic Art is also being reflected in a new generation of young scholars undertaking research in aspects of Pacific and Australian Indigenous Art, not just in the institutions of the Oceanic region but also in Europe. This edition features the first writing from this new group with University of East Anglia PhD student Carolina Gallerini’s article on the sole Kanak object held in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, a Bird Headed Club.
Carolina argues that Objects are cultural Ambassadors, which is very close to the theme “Objects as Ambassadors” provided for the lecture being presented by Matt Poll of the newly opened Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney. This lecture and a panel featuring a
number of the original members of the Society are the highlights of the OAS’s official 25th anniversary event which includes the AGM and a lunch at the end of November in Sydney.
With 25 years under its belt, the OAS is continuing to move forward with big plans for international fora and other events in the next couple of years to continue to recognise and share appreciation for the arts of our region.