Sisterhood in Pacific art

Tracking two decades of contemporary Pacific art, this exhibition flattens hierarchies and welcomes understanding.

In her catalogue essay for the exhibition sis – Pacific Art 1980-2023, Moana writer Lana Lopesi says she grew up being called “sis” by her girlfriends, but adds, ‘yet within Pacific diasporic spaces in Aotearoa New Zealand, there is often visible discomfort at any mention of the word “feminism”’.

It is a view shared by Samoan academic Moeata Keil. She notes in her essay: ‘I think somehow feminism has been misunderstood as something-to-do-with-the-West, as a Western way of thinking that contradicts Pacific cultures and customs.’

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina