Trade & Transformation – Lisa Hilli
The arrival of Europeans and non-indigenous people to the Gazelle Peninsular, Papua New Guinea in the late 1800’s brought significant change culturally and spiritually along with the introduction of new materials and currencies.
A solo exhibition by artist Lisa Hilli, this body of work begins with the artists understanding and how trade beads or slave beads; a manufactured material used globally inclusive of the Solwara / Moana / Pacific region for colonial exploitation was used in multiple ways. Missionaries and colonial administrators used beads to build rapport and relationships with indigenous peoples. Independent traders and foreign companies as far as Germany used beads and struck their own currency as trade for goods and services, including plantation labour.
Many of these trade beads and other introduced materials became embedded within the design of historical ‘artefacts’ that now exist in museums - evidence of historical exchanges that took place between differing groups of people during a hostile and precarious era. With the limitation of language upon first and on-going contact between Europeans and Solwara peoples, materiality became a language, which was understood and valued by all.
Produced by: Blak Dot Gallery
Videographer: Victor Eduardo Guzman