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Picturing the Pacific

How has the Pacific been pictured over the centuries of colonial expansions into the region? Centuries of negative colonial perceptions of Oceanian art-forms as frozen in time have the effect of uniting Pacific peoples. Since French explorer Dumont d’Urville problematically divided Oceania into three ethno-geographical zones ofâ˜Polynesia’ (many islands), â˜Micronesia’ (small islands) and â˜Melanesia’ (black islands), the categories have been contested as arbitrary and racially-based by scholars such as Thomas and Losche (1999) and Jolly (2007, 2008). Micronesia’s tiny, northern islands became prominent in the Pacific War and recently through rising sea levels, but the Pacific dominating European imaginaries was a volatile form of contradiction, situated symbolically between Polynesia and Melanesia. Polynesia has long been represented in pictorial documentation and popular media as a paradisiacal playground of palm-fringed beaches and â˜dusky maidens’ (Vercoe 2004), while a different Pacific has been painted of Melanesia by colonial Europe’s missionizing and demon-fixated consciousness. Consequently, Pacific visual culture has been understood largely as â˜traditional’ objects of brooding desire or unspeakable barbarity, â˜collected by conquest, swindle, and purchase during the colonial era’ (Lebovics 2007).

Euramerican-dominated interest in Oceanic art as ethnographic connoisseurship continues unabated, in Pacific arts scholarship and conferences (Ireland 2010), which privilege art â˜out there and back then’ (Clifford, cited in Jolly 2001: 456) rather than contemporary art, here and now. While contemporary art forms are alive and thriving throughout Oceania, they continue to be regarded widely by elite European institutions, as â˜primitive’ (McLean December 2011 personal discussion), â˜folk’ or â˜naive’ (Raabe 1995, cited in Cochrane 2007b: 17) and relegated to natural history museums as â˜inauthentic’ and non-collectible (Martin 2008). With few exceptions, contemporary Pacific art is absent from the compulsive and convulsive flows of global, including Asia-Pacific, biennale culture with their nomadic â˜tribes’ of artists, curators and audiences purportedly creating more inclusive understandings of connection, mobility and belonging (Chiu n.d.; Wang n.d.).

The Haucks farm twenty-five acres of grapes at HammerSky Australia Metro Map Vineyards, which they named for their two young sons, Hamilton and Skyler. Planted in 1997 Australia Metro Map , the vines grow in soil that compares favorably with that of France’s Bordeaux region. A combi- nation of shale, clay loam, and calcareous sandstone, the soil harbors moisture, encouraging the vines to root deeply, and imparts a balanced minerality to the finished wine. While Kim runs the inn, Doug is involved in all aspects of the wine business, including marketing, vineyard management, and blending stylish wines that he considers couture for the senses. A man of diverse interests, Doug earned a business degree from the University of Southern California, a film degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and, in 1988, a doctorate of dental surgery from San Francisco’s University of the Pacific. He taught dental courses at USC, ran a successful practice in Beverly Hills for two decades, and has enjoyed side careers as a movie producer and Internet entrepreneur.

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