South Pacific Paradise comes to London Docklands

The South Pacific Islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea got together this week to showcase their tourism offering and the hospitality of the islands.
The event,  in which a large pontoon in the West Marina was transformed into a South Pacific Island, with a traditional thatched bure (meeting house), was hosted by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Oceania National Olympic Committee.
The hosts laid on typical island hospitality which included dance and drum from two of the top Pacific dance groups based in the UK – many of the dancers and singers are the wives and children of  islanders who currently serve in the British Army.  I didn’t know this before but there are 2,000 Fijians alone serving in the BA. Fiji was a British colony until 1970 when it became independent.  
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The traditional dancing, including typical warrior event, ….even though the weather let them down and was a far cry from the sunshine that you get in these beautiful islands.
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Monica Galetti(above) is the Ambassador for Samoa where she was born – you will recognise her from BBC2’s MasterChef where is a co-presenter.  She is the Senior Sous Chef at Londo’s Gavaroche – pictured with Men’s editor Jon Guy and colleague
This month also sees the publication of a study of the art of William Hodges arising from the voyage of the Resolution. The writer Laurence Simmons opens fresh theoretical perspectives on the representational problems raised by the early paintings produced in the South Pacific.
Following Pacific island historians of the 1960s, it argues that it is possible to read the texts and visual material produced from early South Seas encounters against the grain, as moments of cross-cultural exchange that challenge postcolonial complacencies. 
In a detailed exploration of the background and close readings of individual paintings, this book sets forth some fresh contexts for interpreting assumptions about the representation of the Pacific islands and the ‘South Seas’.
The book is presented in sections that follow the geographical and chronological progress of Cook’s voyage on the Resolution, for which William Hodges was hired as official artist, Cook’s ‘landskip painter’. 
Painters like Hodges found themselves staring again and again in disbelief at landscapes and seascapes that stretched 18th-century conventions of painting, such as the ‘picturesque’, the ‘sublime’ and the ‘beautiful’.
Each chapter of Tuhituhi focuses on the close reading of a significant painting of a South Pacific location by Hodges. The last chapter considers the important influence of Hodges’ work on a series of paintings by the major twentieth-century New Zealand painter Colin McCahon. £34.50
Buy it on Amazon

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