In the pidgin dialect of the Solomon Islands, Wansolwara describes the concept of ‘one ocean, one people’, as an idea of a shared connection between the different communities of the Great Ocean.
At UNSW Galleries, Fiji-born and Sydney based artist Shivanjani Lal’s works explores her history and identity as an Australian and Fijian. Her work explores the indentured labour diaspora of the Indian and Pacific Ocean, which brought her family from India to Fiji.
In her work, Child, Tell Me A Story, maps are sewn with red threads to show the tracking of the movement of ships that transported labour passengers from India to Fiji between, 1879-1920. “They had although signed an agreement to work for the Sugar Cane industry but it was basically slavery,” says Lal
Brisbane-based Tongan artist Ruha Fifita presents her two large-scale Tongan ngatu (painted bark cloth tapestry). The first ngatu Ngoue Manongi inspired by her grandmother was a collaborative effort between her family to reflect on the bonds that united extended families.
“Our nephew who was taking his first walk was on this Tapa when we had finished, had walked from one side to another. We were all there to experience it.” said Fifta.
While the second ngatu Lototo was created with candlenut soot and natural dyes extracted from where whales migrate from to reflect on human’s relationship with nature.
In celebration of the artworks, from more than 20 artists, including Fifita and Lal, Wansolwara: One Salt Water will be held across both UNSW Galleries and 4A Centre for Contemporary Art until March 2020.
Until Apr 18. UNSW Galleries, Cnr of Oxford Street and Greens Road, Paddington, Sydney. Info: www.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
By Kirsta Cheung.