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Tony Atkinson

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (series)

    • Tony Atkinson
  • Description

    Photograph (black and white); five women kneeling in a row, performing a siva (ceremonial dance), moving their hands at shoulder height towards their left, wearing plant fibre skirts, plant fibre tops, and flower headbands; a crowd of spectators standing and sitting on the ground in the background; Bairiki, Kiribati.
    Gelatin silver print


  • Producer name

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 25th March 1959
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 12.7 centimetres
    • Width: 17.7 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        back of image
      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Comment

        handwritten in black ink on yellow label
  • Curator's comments

    Context: This image was photographed between 2100-2300 hrs (see PicDoc 259). The dance "Siva" is an Ellice Islands ceremonial dance with a song that recounts the story of an Ellice boy who ran off to sea, against the wishes of his mother. He later repents and returns to her asking her forgiveness. In Ellice, a boy commonly calls his mother "my love".
    Lyrics of the Song:
    I beseech you listen
    Hear my pitiful cry
    My heart aches
    It aches because of you.
    I know not what to do
    To please you.
    I swallow my shame
    Oh my lover.

    I have tried
    I am not wholly to blame
    My heart is pierced.
    Forgive me, my lover
    I now obey your wishes
    Forgive my earlier disobedience
    Takle me back into my heart
    For my anger is now ended.


  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    The British Museum made photographic prints from original negatives in Mr T Atkinson's collection. The images depict HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's state visit to Kiribati (Gilbert and Ellice Islands) from 25th March - 5th April 1959. The BM has assigned copyright of these images.

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 39 (BM photographic series number)

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Object reference number: EPF103793

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