pacific arts association :: PACIFIC

past paa Pacific

2019 Vanuatu Making Connections: ni-Vanuatu Artists, Objects and Histories

National Library and Archives, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 20-22 March 2019

The Pacific Chapter of the Pacific Arts Association is excited to offer the occasion for scholars, students, artists, and curators to visit Port Vila, Vanuatu and make connections with ni-Vanuatu artists, objects, and histories. Our conference – an excursion from the PAA International Symposium in Brisbane – will be held 20-22 March 2019 at the National Library and Archives (next door to the Vanuatu Cultural Centre).

The intention of this excursion is to provide the opportunity for those attending the PAA’s XIII International Symposium (and others interested in the arts of the Pacific) to visit Vanuatu and learn about the role of the arts in ni-Vanuatu culture and society

2017 PAA Pacific held on the Alafua Campus of the University of the South Pacific, Samoa

The Performing Arts - Making the Invisible Visible Apia, Samoa, 27 November -1 December 2017

Adrienne Kaeppler has suggested that one (key) role that art plays in Pacific societies is to make the invisible visible. In particular, the performing arts have developed over the millennia as integral aspects of ritual, political and economic exchanges, and in some cases entertainment. Today, performance has been the vehicle through which Pacific peoples have addressed such issues as; global warming, dis/relocation, the loss and maintenance of cultural integrity/traditions, colonialism, and sovereignty. In this way, the arts place issues of importance in the public domain; making what appears invisible, visible.

Pacific peoples have been connected to their land and oceans over countless generations. Their relationship with the land and sea is cultural, physical and spiritual; resulting in the creation of specific cultural identities. Generations of ‘aiga’ (family) relationships have been developed through ancestral ties that connect family histories and stories to place – all linked to the land and to the sea. When the Pacific Islands are threatened, Pacific lives are threatened. Climate change, ocean warming and sea level rise threaten Pacific Island survival. Island environments, habitats, food security, health, and Pacific cultures risk being lost.

How will these issues effect our cultures in the future? What will dislocation do to a nation’s sense of cultural identity? Is relocation to foreign lands a choice? And, more specifically, how do the arts address these issues? In what ways do dancers, choreographers, musicians, poets, and artists express their relationship to the land, the sea, to each other; and even dis/relocation.

This conference examines how the arts and arts practitioners (artists, academics, museum personnel) are addressing these critical issues.

2015: 29 Sept.-4 Oct., at Fa’onelua Conference Centre Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga.

2015 Trading Traditions: The Role of Art in the Pacific’s Expansive Exchange Networks

Nuku'alofa, Kingdom of Tonga, 30 September-4 October 2015

The Pacific Branch of the Pacific Arts Association is calling for interest in its 2015 conference, to be held at the Fa’onelua Conference Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga from 30 September to 4 October, 2015.

Recent archaeological investigations have confirmed what we already knew– that there was widespread trade among islands and cultures across the pacific well in advance of the European arrival. The theme of this conference offers a myriad of investigations into the role/s art has played in the exchange of objects, peoples, technologies, and ideologies in the pre-historic, historic, or modern Pacific. It is not limited to ‘physical’ exchanges, but also addresses complex social, economic and political arrangements/interactions between interconnected systems, structures and peoples. Among others, we seek to enhance our understanding of how art moved across time and through communities, why some exchanges were more successful than others and how geography, technology, or localized social structures influenced artistic function, meaning or traditions

2014 Conferences Noumea Austronesia - a journey to the past and present

Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia, 24-25 May 2014


The objectives are to explore the ancient connections of our Austronesian ancestors as well as to address the many contemporary connections amongst indigenous art and artists. The increasingly close engagement of Asian and Pacific Island nations creates a need for a understanding of the complex region of Oceania beyond the patterns imposed by Western history and influence.

The Conveners will accept papers that address the theme of the conference. We invite proposals from researchers and scholars, curators and artists to engage with and challenge the ancient and contemporary connections amongst Austronesian peoples, especially in artistic expression.