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Tungaru: The Kiribati Project

Tungaru: The Kiribati Project is an ongoing project initiated by Aotearoa New Zealand-born artist Chris Charteris in 2012. Tungaru is the original name given to the coral atolls comprising Kiribati. One of the meanings of Tungaru is ‘gathering together in a joyous kind of way’.

The concept of collectivity is intrinsic to I-Kiribati culture; accordingly, collaborative working methods and the massing of individual objects underpin the works in Tungaru. The artists involved in this iteration of the project have worked with I-Kiribati knowledge holders, museum curators, family members, community representatives and each other to create works that articulate the importance of building sustainable structures of communal wellbeing. The works engage with the social space of dance and performance, the shared responsibility of creating and maintaining Te ma (fish traps), and the design of weaponry and armour as part of a structured process of conflict resolution. Created from both natural and store-bought materials, these works reflect on the ways I-Kiribati continue to work with readily available resources to create objects of practical sophistication and aesthetic beauty.

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