Varilaku: Pacific Arts from the Solomon Islands
February 26th - May 29th, 2011
Through over sixty works, Varilaku explores traditional, or kastom, beliefs in ancestral ghosts, the world of spirit beings, ocean-bound raiding expeditions and the indigenous aesthetics of the self; the use of adornments to express identity and status during the mid 19th century to the advent of World War II.
The earliest recorded accounts noted the particular finesse, care and attention given by Solomon Islanders to their arts. Pitch-black surfaces, gleaming inlaid sections of shell, and distended faces are only some of the distinct features of the works in Varilaku: Pacific arts from the Solomon Islands. Figurative sculpture varies from one island to the next: abstraction in the northern islands, clustered shell inlay in the southern islands and sublime naturalism in the western islands.
Varilaku brings together the finest traditional Solomon Islands arts from Australia's museums and galleries. It is also the first time the majority of these works have been publicly shown, despite many having been in Australian collections for over a century.
A 120 page fully illustrated catalogue will be published by the National Gallery of Australia which includes an essay by Dr. Deborah Waite.