While alert to the dangers of cultural genericization, the discussion acknowledges the insistence by many Pacific artists on commonalities and connections throughout a sea of islands’ (Hauofa 1994: 152). This is not to deny complex identity formations flowing in and between islands and urban centres, and constant negotiation occurring across mixed cultures and ethnicities, the customary and the contemporary and the individual and the social, but to acknowledge Pacific peoples’ familiarity with movement, migration and fluidity. Such cultural buoyancy endures, even in the face of literal and figurative swamping by the rest of the world. The diverse circumstances of Oceanic people across scattered places, surviving successive tidal waves of colonization, missionization and globalization, indicates this region may yet offer alternative and sustainable exemplars for vocabularies of the urban, the global and the cosmopolitan that are currently dominated by northern hemisphere discourses.
Australia and its Neighbours: Pacific globalization and urbanization
Strong attachments to place and journeying habitually inform Oceanic peoples’ fluid identities and identifications, allowing cities of the Pacific to be re-imagined as culturally multi-layered within this region’s vastness and diversity. Across twenty million square kilometres of sea and twenty to thirty thousand islands (excluding Australia and New Zealand) 2,000 known languages are spoken amongst eight million people. Unlike Australia, (Aotearoa)1 New Zealand has been identified over the past three decades as a Pacific nation’ with Auckland as the world’s largest Polynesian city, notwithstanding political tensions surrounding understandings of Polynesia’ by first nation Maori, and immigrant and New Zealand-born Pacific Islanders (Hill 2010). Government promotion of Pacific and Indigenous arts has assured a strong national profile for many artists who have contributed to the changing identity of New Zealand regional centres and cities. Australia’s Pacific experience has been more aligned with Melanesia but, with Australia’s global economic sights set on Asia-Pacific horizons, governments and cultural institutions have rarely embraced their eastern geographical reality, despite 400,000 Australians (approximately two per cent of the population) identifying with Pacific Island heritage. Although not apparent in art and academic institutions in southern capitals, contemporary Pacific artists present a vibrant but consistently untapped and overlooked dimension of the Australian art scene’ (O’Riordan 2009). Confounding curatorial definitions of Asia-Pacific, New Zealand-Pacific, International and Indigenous art, the impact of Pacific cultures is strongly recognizable in Australian cities such as Brisbane and Darwin and the smaller regional cities of Cairns, Townsville and Bundaberg, as well as Sydney’s western suburbs.
Country Roanoke Colony In late July 1587, Governor John White and his party of eighty-nine men, seventeen women, and eleven children arrived at Roanoke Island, just inside the Outer Banks of North Carolina’s coast. Financed primarily by Sir Walter Raleigh, the expedition was the second attempt to settle the region. In 1584, a reconnaissance expedition to the Outer Banks, by Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe, had brought back two natives, Manteo and Wanchese, and had revealed the land to be suitable for colonization. Raleigh financed an expedition in 1585, led by Sir Richard Grenville, to establish an English garrison on Roanoke under the direction of Governor Ralph Lane. Such naturalists and artists as White and Thomas Harriot lived with the garrison from July 1585 to June 1586, collecting much information about the region and its inhabitants. Melbourne Map In late July 1586, they returned to England on board Sir Francis Drake’s ships, bringing positive word of an attractive and fertile land but also one of limited resources, poor harbors, and devastating storms. Raleigh subsequently financed the White expedition for 1587. White’s party intended to establish not a military garrison but an independent settlement in the Chesapeake area a settlement that would be selfsufficient and live in harmony with the Chesapeake Indians. On the trip across the Atlantic, White and Simon Fernandes, the Portuguese pilot and a former pirate, argued repeatedly. When they arrived at Roanoke to consult with a garrison left there by Grenville in late 1586, Fernandes forced the entire party off at Roanoke.