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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Chiefs and Governors: Art and Power in Fiji is one of the outputs of the research project Fijian Art: political power, sacred value, social transformation and collecting since the 18th century (2011-2014), which was generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC research grant AH/1002622/1).

The University of Cambridge Crowther-Beynon Fund provided additional funding for the exhibition and the acquisition of contemporary Fijian materials, funding from the from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia assisted with the production of the accompanying catalogue, and the University of Cambridge Museums, with the support of Arts Council England, provided conservation assistance. 

Chiefs and Governors is based on research conducted by the core members of the Fijian Art Research Project team, with the exhibition co-curated by Dr Anita Herle, Senior Curator at MAA. Co-curator Dr Lucie Carreau has led and coordinated in-depth research on the outstanding Fijian collections at MAA with tremendous care and diligence and worked creatively on every stage of the exhibition development. Steven Hooper has been a mentor and a tremendous source of inspiration, on both the production of the catalogue and various aspects of the exhibition. Karen Jacobs advised on the presentation of liku skirts and provided background information on missionaries in Fiji. Any Mills contributed expertise on Fijian weapons and took the lead in organising a symposium to mark the opening of the exhibition. Doctoral student Katrina Igglesden provided invaluable insights into contemporary Fijian culture, collected Fijian material for MAA and assisted with exhibition ilstallation and catalogue production. The Project team is particularly indebted to consultant Fergus Clunie, former Director of the Fiji Museum, who has been extremely generous with his knowledge and tine.

The project was designed to develop and incorporate collaborative research with Fiji and with numerous partner and associate institutions, listed below. Particular thanks go to the staff of the Fiji Museum, especially the Director Sagale Buadromo, Rata Sela Rayawa, Mereia Luvunakoro and William Kopeland.

Preparations for the exhibition and opening greatly benefitted from the support of the Government of Fiji through the Fiji High Commission in London. His Excellency Solo Mara, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji, First Secretary Senitieli Wainiu and staff have given advice and provided links with Fijian community members on the UK. We are especially grateful to Sera Tavainavesi, Sefanaia Baleisolomone, Manueli Tulo and Malakai Qoro for transforming the gallery with Ialawa, the art of binding and wrapping with coir cord (magimagi).

Malakai Qoro and Sera Tavainavesi finishing the Ialawa by decorating the pillar with coir cord (magimagi) and masi at MAA. Photographed by Lucie Carreau, 13 March 2013

The exhibition would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and inspiration of numerous staff at MAA and the University of Cambridge Museums. MAA Director Nicholas Thomas provided general advice and support. Special thanks goes to Jocelyne Dudding, who photographed most of the objects for the catalogue, contributed research on MAA's photographic collections and assisted with graphics for the exhibition. Matt Buckley oversaw technical and installation work, with the assistance of Marcus Miller and Bob Bourne. Rachel Hand provided curatorial support and assisted with the installation of the displays. Mark Elliott advised on technical and design aspects of the exhibition. Kirstie Williams, Sophie Oleman and Barbara Wills undertook conservation, under the supervision of Julie Dawson. Administrative support was provided by Wendy Brown and Liz Haslemere, Jon Dawson advised on IT, Tanika Mei assisted with publicity, and Sarah-Jane Harknett and Lorena Bushell supported outreach and evaluation. Volunteers and students also contributed to the project including Katya Borisova, Alice Christophe, Heather Donoghue, Anna Merlini and Remke van der Velden.