Red Wave, Blue Wave

Artist Collectives from the Oceania Centre, Suva, Fiji

22 June–13 October 2024

Artworks from the internationally acclaimed Red Wave Collective and the emerging Blue Wave Collective, shown for the first time in Aotearoa.

In 1997, ‘Epeli Hau’ofa, one of the Pacific’s most revered academics, writers, poets, activists, and philosophers, established the Oceania Centre for Arts Culture and Pacific Studies (OCACPS), based at The University of the South Pacific, Laucala Bay Campus in Suva, Fiji. The Red Wave Collective emerged during this period. Creating art founded on Hau’ofa’s critique of colonial views of the Pacific region, the Red Wave collective affirmed the interconnectedness and diversity of the Pacific. Artists encouraged new forms, transposed heritage motifs and images into the contemporary world, drew upon local cosmologies and oral histories, critiqued customary knowledge and ultimately created works of immense scale and ingenuity – reflecting the diverse cultures and dynamism of Oceanic peoples.

The Red Wave Collective found enormous international success, with exhibitions in Australia, Hawai’i, New Caledonia and the United Kingdom. Until now, Red Wave, as a collective, has never shown in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Under the tutelage of the Oceania Centre’s Acting Director, Larry Thomas, a new wave of visual artists has emerged. Also inspired by the ocean as a metaphor for creativity, The Blue Wave Collective is forging a unified stance to protect the sea.

Red Wave, Blue Wave brings together a selection of works from both collectives for the first time in Aotearoa. With support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, several artists will also travel to Aotearoa for the exhibitions, including Lingikoni Vaka’uta, Josaia McNamara, Ledua Peni, Anare Somumu & Ben Fong with Ulamila Bulamaibau, Keresi Vosa, Nancy Sharma, Atueta Rabuka, Suzanne Turaganiwai and Susie Elliott. Artworks from the Oceania Centre Collection by Fred Butafa, Pax Jakupa, Bryan Afia, Dulcie Stewart and Sangeeta Singh will also be on display.

Suggested reading list:
2023 marked 30 years since the Oceania Centre founder Epeli Hau’ofa wrote his seminal text, Our Sea of Islands, about the significance of the ocean to Pacific peoples, and 25 years since The Ocean in Us was published, featuring Teresia Teaiwa’s influential poem, ‘We sweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in our blood’.

Red Wave, Blue Wave is proudly supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Co-developed by Pātaka Art+Museum with The University of the South Pacific.

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IMAGE: Ulamila Buiravonu Bulamaibau, Save the Turtle, 2023, acrylic, ink, and oil on canvas

Red Wave Blue Wave-Install–MTantrum–06

Red Wave, Blue Wave opening night 21 June 2024