Delve into the ties Pasifika peoples have with the past, each other and the environment, in this new permanent exhibition. Wansolmoana – meaning One Salt Ocean – reflects the cultural significance of the immense body of water that connects the islands and people across the Pacific region. It blends the wisdom of Ancestors with the voices of the present to ensure a vibrant legacy for future generations.
Discover Pasifika identities through the stories and objects that explore rich histories, practices and distinct customs. The exhibition features a rare Rotuman Suru, believed to be the first of its kind made since the 1800s. A testament to the tenacity of knowledge holders passing their expertise on to a new generation, this cultural practice has been resurrected after two centuries.
Learn about the exploitation and disruption of Pasifika lives, lands, oceans and freedoms, to the ongoing resistance and strength of Pasifika peoples. A Tokelauan Vaka, a canoe fashioned from traditional wood from Tokelau by the Sydney-based diaspora, symbolises the preservation of traditional canoe making skills, language, and a fight for survival in the face of the climate emergency.
Breathtaking objects from the world-renowned Pacific cultural collections of the Australian Museum, will be accompanied by contemporary artworks and newly acquired pieces, including a stunning Kapa (Hawaiian bark cloth) by artist Roen Hufford, a video installation by Angela Tiatia, and powerful and evocative artworks by Australian South Sea Islander (ASSI) artists Jasmine Togo-Brisby and Dylan Mooney.
Curated by the Australian Museum’s Pasifika staff and cultural knowledge holders in Australia and from around the Pacific, this new permanent exhibition celebrates the complex, varied and dynamic cultures and languages of today's Pasifika peoples.
Pasifika peoples are profoundly connected to one another in many ways. They are woven together into the fabrics of society crafted by Ancestors. They are shaped and nurtured by the forces and elements of the environment. Each community contributes distinct strands, created out of their respective cultures, materials and practices. They are all bound together by collectively held values of harmony, service, respect and reciprocity.
Image: Suru headdress made by one of the artists from Rotuma. Photographer: Abram Powell © Australian Museum.
The traditions, languages and customs of Ancestors have been carried through space and time by Pasifika peoples. Handed down from generation to generation, intricate designs and dances, personal songs and stories, help preserve this strong and ongoing sense of self and share this with others.
Image: Kapa, Nā Hōkūwelowelo a Kahalewai (detail), bark cloth, Roen Hufford, Hawaii. Photographer: Stuart Humphreys © Australian Museum
Throughout the Pacific, imperialism and colonisation has seen the exploitation and enslavement of Pasifika people, the destruction and unlawful removal of land and resources, and the loss of cultural practices and traditions. Today climate change has brought a new emergency for Pacific nations. Uncover how Pasifika people have come together to fight these disruptions, to protect their past and their future.
Image: Vaka (Canoe) 'Tai Tokelau' made entirely from the Kanava tree in Tokelau, representing both the past and present. Photographer: Abram Powell © Australian Museum
The Australian Museum would like to thank the Pasifika curatorium, Pasifika diaspora in Australia and communities from within the various Pacific Islands, for their generosity, insights, stories and cultural knowledge shared throughout Wansolmoana.
The Pasifika Gallery has been made possible through the generous support of The Macdoch Foundation.