Benjamin Work’s exhibition of new work ‘For King and Country’ features 9 paintings guarded by mythical Tongan warriors. The exhibition makes a direct appeal as to the importance of accurately scrutinizing early historical accounts. For the artist, it reinforces the Tongan proverb that, ‘we walk forward into the past and backward into the future’ and what he feels is a need for this generation to build on their rich history from a Tongan perspective.
Benjamin Work has produced this exhibition in light of the large number of 18th and 19th century Tongan collections that he viewed in museums during a research trip to Europe and the United Kingdom. As a result of over a millennium of early encounters and exchanges over time and space, the bulk of Tonga’s early cultural treasures are all housed in museums overseas, a trait that is common to many pacific nations including the Cook Islands. Benjamin Work’s experience of being one of only a few Tongans, and in some cases the first, to view and handle works of art by Tongan master artists of the past, are embedded in this exhibition.
For King and Country
Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga
9 June – 30 July 2016< BACK TO LISTINGS