Melanesia project

Related events and exhibitions

Michael Kwa’ioloa speaking at the launch workshop

Art and History in the Solomon Islands. Collections, Owners and Narratives. 4-5th October 2006

The British Museum holds the largest (about 3,800 objects) and most important Solomon Islands collection held internationally. In October 2006, four Solomon Islanders, Evelyn Baines, Michael Kwa'ioloa, Kenneth Roga and Salome Samou, representing four different areas of the Solomons Group, came to London for three weeks, to work on the collection with Liz Bonshek, Sarah Byrne, Ben Burt, Jill Hasell, and a volunteer, Chris McMahon.

They viewed and documented nearly one third of the collection in that time. This information will be entered into the British Museum’s collection database.

The program culminated in the first ever international Solomon Islands conference: Art and History in the Solomon Islands: Collections, Owners and Narratives. Approximately 60 people attended the conference. Delegates came from the Solomon Islands (about 11 people), Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, France, Norway and Taiwan. Delegates from within the UK included people from Goldsmiths College, Cambridge, Oxford and the University College, London. Some delegates were funded to attend the conference by the University of Bergen, Norway, which held another smaller conference in Bergen in the following week.

The conference procedings will be prepared for publication by Ben Burt and Lissant Bolton.

For information on the Conference Proceedings, contact Ben Burt in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas: bburt @

North Entrance Display, British Museum, 27 March to May 11 2006

This exhibition displayed the work of Samuel Luguna, Artist in Residence for the Melanesia Project and Rebecca Jewell, Leverhulme Artist in Residence for the Melanesia Project. The paintings on display were all created as a result of interactions by both artists with the collections. The objects relating to each work were also displayed at the base of the case.

Artist in Residence for the Melanesia Project: Rebecca Jewell

With the financial support of the Leverhulme Trust Rebecca Jewell, who has a PhD from the Royal College of Art in Natural History Illustration, worked with the Melanesia Project as Leverhulme Artist in Residence between September 2005 and July 2006. She is continuing to work with the Melanesia Project.

Her drawings and prints explore shared histories between the Melanesian islanders who made the artefacts, the travellers, anthropologists and explorers who obtained them, and the museum which now houses them. In March 2006 she worked with Samuel Luguna and together they mounted a show of their work in the North Entrance display cases at the British Museum.


Image: Michael Kwa’ioloa speaking at the workshop “Art and History in the Solomon Islands. Collections, Owners and Narratives”

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council