Repurposing, Recycling, Revisioning: Pacific Arts and the (Post)colonial




Pacific artists, food colonisation, reappropriation, speaking back, culture


Taking a broad approach to the concept of recycling, I refer to a range of works, from sculpture to film, street art and poetry, which depict issues of importance to Indigenous peoples faced with the (after) effects of colonisation. Does the use of repurposed materials and/or the knowledge that these objects are the work of Indigenous creators change the way we respond to these works, and if so, how?

Author Biography

Jean Anderson, Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Jean Anderson is Associate Professor/Reader in French at Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand, where she founded Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga o Aotearoa / New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation in 2007. She has translated several novels by Indigenous Pacific authors from French into English, and co-translated into French eight novels by leading Māori writer Patricia Grace. Her research interests focus on the representation of otherness across a wide range of forms and genres. Recent publications include work on translation, crime fiction, and the contemporary francophone novel.


Arahanga, B., Aumua, A.J., Freshwater, M., Fuemana, D., George, M., Guttenbeil-Likiliki, O., McCartney, M., Whippy, N. & Whippy, S. (Directors). (2019). Vai. [Motion picture]. Vendetta Films.

Burns, W.C.G. (2002). Pacific Island Developing Country Water Resources and Climate Change. The World’s Water 2002-2003 (pp. 113-131). Island Press.

Centre des Métiers d’Art de Polynésie française (n.d.). Tokai Devatine Installation

City Gallery Wellington / Te Whare Toi (n. d.) Past Exhibition: Bottled Ocean, 17 May-7 August 1994.

Devatine, J-D. T. (2020). Personal communication.

Errington, F. & Gewertz, D. (2008). Pacific Island Gastrologies: Following the Flaps. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society (N.S.), 14 (3), 590-608.

Gifford, A. (2006) Man on a Pacific Mission. New Zealand Herald. 21 November.

GSUTV (n.d.). Special Edition: The Plastic Gyre. [Video].

Hay, J. (2005). Povi Christkeke by Michel Tuffery. Christchurch Art Gallery / Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

Herman, L. E. (1998). Trash Formations. Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and Design. Whatcom Museum of History and Art.

Hollingshead, I. (2011). Tales of Cannibalism from the South Pacific. The Telegraph. 18 October.

HTJ Artworks (n.d.). HTJ Artworks website.

Jetñil-Kijiner, K. (2017). Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter. University of Arizona Press.

Kaur, A. (2019). A ‘Rough Road’ as Military Buildup Projects are in ‘Full Force’. USA Today Pacific Daily News, May 23.

Kirtland, K. A., Cho, P., & Geiss, L. S. (2015). Diabetes Among Asians and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders – United States, 2011-2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. November 20, 64(45), 1261-1266.

Krier, B. A. (1988). Trash Furniture. Los Angeles Times, 14 August.

Le Boisselier, V. & Lecas, M. (2018). En Polynésie française, la multiplication des maladies fait craindre pour les enfants. Slate, 12 septembre.

Mallon, S. (2012). Urban Art and Popular Culture. In P. Brunt & N. Thomas (Eds.), Art in Oceania. A New History (pp. 440-465). Thames and Hudson.

Mallon, S. & Fulimalo Pereira, P. (Eds.) (1997) Speaking in Colour. Conversations with Artists of Pacific Island Heritage. Te Papa Press.

Narula, S. K. (2016). Imperial Scraps: Thanks for Mutton, New Zealand: Your Fatty Meat Products are Making Tonga Obese. Quartz, 20 January.

NPR (National Public Radio) (2010). A Bottled-Water Drama In Fiji. 1 December.

Perez, C. S. (n.d.). Spam’s Carbon Footprint.

Smith, M. R. (2017). Indigenous Graffiti and Street Art as Resistance. In S. H. Awad & B. Wagoner (Eds.), Street Art of Resistance (pp. 251-274). Palgrave.

Spivak, G. C. (1995). Can the Subaltern Speak? In B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths & H. Tiffin (Eds.), The Postcolonial Studies Reader (pp. 24-35). The Psychology Press.

Split This Rock (n.d.). Craig Santos Perez, Spam’s Carbon Footprint. Split This Rock.

Stevenson, K. (2008). The Frangipani is Dead. Contemporary Pacific Art in New Zealand. Huia Books.

Street Art Avenue (2015, 12 Mai).

Taylor, R., Zimmer, P., Naseri, T., Hufanga, S., Tukana, I., Magliano, D. J., Lin, S., Linhart, C., & Morrell, S. (2016). Erroneous Inflation of Diabetes Prevalence: Are There Global Implications? Journal of Diabetes, 8 (6), November, 766-769.

Te Ara / The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (n. d.). Bottled Ocean.

Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum of New Zealand (n.d.). Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) by Michel Tuffery.

Te Pū Centre des Métiers d’Art (2016). Manava: art contemporain polynésien: Tahiti [catalogue de l’exposition qui s’est tenue du 8 juin au 28 septembre 2013 à Tahiti et du 6 décembre au 25 janvier 2015 à WUHO]. Te Pū Centre des Métiers d’Art.

Thomas, N. (1996). From Exhibition to Exhibitionism: Recent Polynesian Representations of ‘Otherness’. The Contemporary Pacific, 8 (2), 319-348.

Tuffery, M. (n.d.). Sculpture.

Tukuitonga, C. (2016). Diabetes Remains Major Health Challenge in the Pacific. Devpolicyblog (Australian National University). 26 October.

Turgovnick, M. (1990). Gone Primitive. Savage Intellects, Modern Lives. University of Chicago Press.

Wikipédia (n.d.). Julien Malland (Seth).




How to Cite

Anderson, J. (2020). Repurposing, Recycling, Revisioning: Pacific Arts and the (Post)colonial. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 19(1).