Juxtaposition in Fijian Art
Written, edited and directed by Monika Herfurth.
Learn more about the significance of juxtaposition in Fijian art, especially the mixing of natural and unnatural materials in contemporary work like that which appears in Cli-mat, the exhibition.
By Monica Herfurth, 2015
Many forms of Fijian art use natural materials, including weaving, printmaking, lashings and carving. All show the versatility of the world around us – making artwork that not only captures Fijian culture, but also shows these natural media in a new light.
The team of artists at USP over the past few years have combined both the cultural and natural works they have created and developed them further as a group, expanding projects out into their communities. The artists have led a climate change program that engages with school children to show them how to make their own art out of rubbish found around their homes.
Outreach programs allow the artists to give back, raising awareness of climate change and how it relates to the Pacific islands as a group. Through their artwork the artists express how climate change is affecting them, while using excess rubbish and transforming it into art.
Some of the artworks have incorporated rubbish with the natural media. The work of Johanna Beasley on the Cli-Mat, for example, and the fish installation that was built while on Beqa Island are examples of the way that art-making can model new ways of engaging the world around us. At the same time, some of the artists have depicted through painting how they are affected by climate change.
The juxtaposition of natural and artificial in these art works reflects the larger processes through which humans both adapt to and influence the environment as we develop culture and technology. The two are not opposed; they are woven together through human ingenuity. The Oceania Centre seeks to raise awareness of climate change making it fun and interactive for Fijian generations to come.