Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial

Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial
Author: Nicholas Thomas
Rating: 3.83
Bestsellers Rate: 1692811
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Book Format: Paperback
Binding: None
Pages: 304
Hours of reading: 5.1 hours
Publication Date: 2021
Languages: | English |
Price: None

About the book

Tribal art has been one of the great inspirations of 20th-century Western art. Europeans such as Picasso, Matisse, Ernst and Brancusi created their own responses to masks, sculpture and other forms of African, Oceanic and American art. But is this a cross-cultural discovery to be celebrated, or just one more example of Western colonial appropriation? This work seeks to prove that both viewpoints are too simplistic. It focuses on the distinctive situation of the settler society - countries such as Australia and New Zealand in which large numbers of Europeans made their home, displacing but never entirely eclipsing native peoples. Settler artists and designers have drawn on indigenous motifs and styles to create art. Yet powerful indigenous art traditions have also been used to assert the presence of native peoples and their prior claim to sovereignty. Cultural exchange proves to be a two-way process, and an unpredictable one: much contemporary indigenous art draws on modern Western art, while affirming ancestral values and rejecting the European appropriation of tribal culture.





Nicholas Thomas Biography

Nicholas Jeremy Thomas (born 1960) is an Australian-born anthropologist, Professor of Historical Anthropology, and Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge since 2006, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2007.


Thomas was born in Australia in 1960.In 1984 he travelled to the Pacific Islands to research his PhD thesis on the Marquesas Islands. He has worked in Fiji and New Zealand, various archives and museums in Europe, North America, and in the Pacific region.He was elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1997, and around that time was also the inaugural Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research (CCR) at the Australian National University.Thomas was elected to the British Academy in 2005, and became a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2007.He participated in a workshop at the British Museum from November 2016 to examine the provenance of the Gweagal Shield, the shield originating from the Aboriginal Australian Gweagal people of the Botany Bay area, believed to have been taken in April 1770 by Captain Cook's expedition. The workshop concluded that it was not that specific shield, and Thomas' paper on it was published whose paper was included in Australian Historical Studies along with another report from the workshop.

Current positions

As of 2020 he is Professor of Historical Anthropology and Director at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Conseil d’orientation scientifique of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris as well as the International Advisory Board of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

Awards and honours

He was awarded the 2010 Wolfson History Prize for his book Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire.

Selected publications

Islanders: The Pacific in the Age of Empire (2012) ISBN 978-0300180565 Rauru: Tene Waitere, Maori Carving, Colonial History (2008), with Mark Adams Hiapo: Past and present in Niuean barkcloth (2005), with John Pule, ISBN 1 877372 00 5 Discoveries: the Voyages of Captain James Cook (2003) Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture (1999) Oceanic Art (World of Art) (1995), ISBN 978-0500202814 Entangled Objects (1991)


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Authors: Nicholas Thomas
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Languages: | English |
Original Language:
ISBN13: 9780500280973
ISBN10: 0500280975
Reference Edition:
Edition: None
Edition Statement: None
Illustrations: 183 illustrations, 20 in colour
Literature Country: None
Literature Period: None
Book Format: Paperback
Book Binding: None
Paper: None
Font: None
Pages: 304
Book Weight: 300
Book Dimensions: 162.05x231.14x19.3
Circulation: None
Publication date: May 1, 1999
First Publication Date: None
Publication City/Country: London, United Kingdom

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