Contemporary artists, academics and master practitioners of Tongan art celebrate the treasures of the Kingdom of Tonga and the history of their dispersal throughout world institutions and collections.
This book documents two landmark events:
The first, a symposium in Nuku‘alofa, Tonga, in early October 2019, focused on the material culture of Tonga held in public and private collections worldwide. The research team led by Dr. Phyllis Herda, for a project funded by the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, presented findings from their research trips to collections in the USA in 2017, and UK and Europe in 2018 and 2019. The treasures documented are testimony to encounters between European explorers and Tongan chiefly people of the 18th and 19th century.
The second, a major exhibition of works by Dagmar Vaikalafi Dyck and Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, curated by Nicholas Butler at the Wallace Arts Centre, Pah Homestead in 2021, surveys their diverse art practices from the 1990s to the present. These contemporary artworks, many made in conversation with 18th- and 19th-century Tongan treasures, are exhibited along with Tongan artefacts from the collections of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira and Canterbury Museum Te Whare Taonga o Ngā Pākihi Whakatekao Waitaha. The exhibition is fully documented in this catalogue by Raymond Sagapolutele’s photography.