I visited an artist colony just outside of the capital, Port Vila, on my first trip to Vanuatu. I guess expected ‘the usual ,’ traditional arts and crafts, carving, flax-work and brightly coloured paintings. And yes there was some of that – but I was surprised at the contemporary work.
I am so conditioned to explore a country or culture’s history I sometimes ‘forget’ that the folks living there now are living in the present – and their contemporary art will, of course, become historical with the passage of time.
I was fascinated by this installation which included several Buddhas, Indian gods and a lifesize Caucasian baby all cast in concrete and painted a shocking day-glo flesh colour. Though the icons were obviously ‘religious’ it seemed more of a comment on the influence the various colonising and immigrant populations have had on Vanuatu than a religious statement.
There I was getting ready to take my photo when up jumped a cock and hen, insisting they needed to be included in the shot. I was happy to oblige.