Oceania Fine Art
Oceania's traditional art that has been described since
the late 1700's, exhibits great stylistic variations between
the localities. Brightly colored surfaces and exaggeration
of natural shapes are stylistic elements in many places in
Melanesia, while Polynesian art is especially known for
surfaces covered with chiseled geometric patterns and
Micronesia's more sparse art for an elegant, undecorated
simplicity of form.
Art was an integral part of society's continuation as a
spiritual kinship, and it was central to interaction and
competition with other groups through trade, marriage,
celebration, and war. Beauty, rarity or strangeness were
parts of an object's function as means to amaze and dazzle
the viewer. This applied both to cult objects that were
hidden away or destroyed after use, such as masks and
sculptures of wood from ancestral cults such as Malanggan in
New Ireland and male companies in Sepik, Maprik and Vanuatu,
as well as weapons and tools such as shields from the asthma
people and the Solomon Islands. clubs from Fiji, Tonga and
the Marquesas Islands.
Countryaah is a website offering country profiles
and lists of of countries in the continent of Oceania.
The human body was everywhere the object of decoration,
and also the decoration of the body was to dazzle, thereby
giving the warrior invulnerability and the dancer seductive
charm. In Papua New Guinea, body painting and decoration are
still used in the grand festivities held as part of the
clans' political competition. In Polynesia, tattooing was
widespread, for example in the Marquesas Islands, Hawaii and
among the Maori, and it was from here that the technique and
name came to Europe. Tattoo and bast cloth (tapa) were
treasures of the powerful Polynesian royal and chieftain
families and were understood as a kind of wrapping of people
who were tapu, i.e. possessed divine power. Today, tattooing
has had a renaissance among Samoan immigrants and Maori in
New Zealand, for example in youth gangs and among
Souvenirs have been made for sale to Europeans since
around 1800, and tourism is the main reason why many items
are made today, both traditional types such as canoe
decorations in the Solomon Islands and new things such as
storyboards in Papua New Guinea and Palau. Lots of new art,
painting, is also produced for local churches, public
buildings and museums and often combines local and western
motifs and techniques. The National Museum's collections
from Oceania come from from the two Galathea expeditions.
See also sections on art under the individual place names.
Australian Folk music
The Australian urinals' music shows a wide variety of
types and styles. However, only a minor part of the many
ethnic groups' music has been documented and studied by
Westerners. Some common features appear to be in the
diversity. The music is closely intertwined with dance,
drama and visual arts in ritual and other contexts. It is
mostly vocal with intricate metrics and rhythm.
Most ethnic groups divide music into three categories:
music belonging to the whole group, music belonging to a
family within the group, and music belonging to a particular
individual. The first category includes songs about the
group's common history, hunting methods, etc., songs for
magical purposes (eg rain ceremonies) or to cure the sick,
and in southern Australia songs for different age groups.
The second category includes songs about companies that have
passed away deceased family members as well as songs about
family secrets. The last category is songs that come to a
person in the dream and which he then remembers when he
wakes up. These songs can have widely different content. All
categories can contain humorous, entertaining songs.
Melody, vocal tone and performance varies widely between
groups. In northern Australia, a phrase often starts on a
high note and then falls at small intervals about one
octave. The next phrase starts again on the high tone. In
southern Australia, small-scale melodies filled with
micro-ranges are common.
The boundary between speech and song in ritual contexts
is very fluid. The song is accompanied by many groups of
strokes on different body parts and percussion instruments,
especially wooden blocks or boomerangs against each other.
Wines are also used throughout the continent. In central and
western Australia, ulbura is played , a wooden
trumpet approximately 60 cm long. In Northern
Australia, rassel, a drum with skins (on the Cape York
Peninsula) and didjeridu, a cone- shaped
piece of a tree trunk eaten by termites, 60–240 cm long,
5–25 cm in diameter are used. Didjeridu has rich sound and
is played both as a trumpet instrument and as a rhythm
instrument; it is also used to enhance vocal sounds.
Australian Classical music
During the 19th century military and salon music
dominated. From the middle of the century opera companies
and symphony orchestras were also formed. Radio with its
various ensembles has been an important music institution,
college education in music has been expanded, and regional
symphony orchestras have been established.
In the 1970s, a major project for the construction of
music venues was started with the Sydney Opera House as the
flagship. Australian music personalities include composers
Percy Grainger, Malcolm Williamson, Nigel Butterley (born
1935), Peter Sculthorpe (1929–2014), Ross Edwards (born
1943), Brett Dean and Elena Kats-Chernin (born 1957), and
vocalists Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland.
Tongiving for the country's art music life is the unique
Musica Viva Australia (founded in 1945), the world's largest
chamber music organization, with annual international
concert series and extensive educational programs for school