“Oceania marks 250 years since the start of Captain Cook’s first Endeavour expedition to the South Pacific and fittingly New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, are cultural co-sponsors of this significant exhibition,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
“Art work spanning more than 500 years will be on show for the first time in this exhibition. It is one of the largest collections of traditional and contemporary Māori, Polynesian and Melanesian art ever to be displayed in the United Kingdom.
“It’s an honour to have the Duchess of Sussex at the opening of Oceania. The exhibition is a stunning display of the Pacific region’s art and culture and will provide rich insights before the Duke and Duchess’ Royal tour of New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Tonga next month.
“The exhibition is free for New Zealand and Pacific Island passport holders, people just need to show their passport at the entry to the exhibition.
“The work of some of our highest-profile Māori and Pasifika artists will be on show including Fiona Pardington, Michael Parekowhai, John Pule, Mark Adams, Yuki Kihara and Lisa Reihana. The Mata Aho Collective of Erena Baker, Sarah Hudson, Bridget Reweti and Terri Te Tau will also present Kiko Moana 2017, which incorporates customary Māori sewing techniques to portray the tradition of innovation.
“The themes of the exhibition include journeying and encounters as well as contemporary issues for Pacific nations such as climate change, regional security and sustainable development.
“This exhibition will focus both UK and international attention on our region as we face these challenges.
“Alongside the exhibition, New Zealand and Pacific Island countries will be holding events to promote discussion and debate about the prosperity and stability of the Pacific.
“Oceania is also an opportunity for me to raise the profile and plans for next year’s commemoration Tuia - Encounters 250 which marks the first onshore meetings between Māori and Europeans during the 1769 voyage of James Cook and HMS Endeavour,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
More details about the exhibition which runs from 20 September until 10 December 2018 are on the Royal Academy website.