Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific opens 15 October 2016 at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.  The largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Fiji ever assembled, it will feature a traditional hand-built Fijian sailing canoe, specially commissioned for the exhibition along with stunning sculptures, textiles, ceramics and ivory and shell regalia, taking the visitor on a journey through the art and cultural history of Fiji since the late 18th century.  Stunning paintings, drawings and photographs from the 19th and 20th century provide context for the Fijian artworks.

Double-hulled Fijian Canoe (drua), Suva Harbour, August 2015. Photo: Steven Hooper

The beautiful 8m-long double-hulled sailing canoe, or drua, built in Fiji in 2015, was funded by the German National Exhibition Centre in Bonn.  It is made entirely of wood and coir cord, with no metal components, and results from a project to preserve traditional canoe-building skills in Fiji.  It is a small version of the great 30m-long vessels of the 19th century, the biggest canoes ever built.

Over 270 works of art, including European paintings and historic photographs, are being loaned to Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific by exhibition partner the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge, and by Fiji Museum, the British Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) and museums in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Exeter, London, Maidstone, as well as Dresden and Leipzig in Germany.