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Oceanic art
Oceanic art

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The art of the Southern arc of the Pacific Ocean

Art made in Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean east of Indonesia . This is separated into four rough parts: Melanesian art, Polynesian art, Micronesian art and Australian [Aboriginal] art. For the most part, all of the oceanic cultures were based on very simple technology and used very little metal, but they created a vast array of artistic styles that were either ritualistic or decorative in purpose.

Various groups of Oceanic art

Melanesian art is diverse and many different styles can be seen in each island. Some common qualities are the mixing of art media in everything- sculptures and paintings, pottery and house decorations were all done with the same fine attention to detail. Art decorates the body, the garment and almost every functional, household tool they use during the day. Most of the artistic effort is in the special, ritual artifacts they employ in religious service. Many of the loveliest art works to be seen on these islands are religious implement for honoring the spirits of their dead ancestors. The tribal costumes and ceremonial masks are also highly decorated and spectacular.

The Polynesians made artifacts of wood, shell, coral and fibers from several of the indigenous fruits found in some of the islands. Many were for everyday use, though some are ceremonial, including figurative wood carvings of spirits and gods.

Micronesia is a group of small islands north of Melanesia . In some of these islands a artistic style of wood and stone carvings became common, usually depictions of very beautifully done human figures that are somewhat blurred and abstract in form. Other islands evolved body art in the form of very convoluted patterns of tattoos. This is the least colorful of the Oceanic cultures and the art is done always on artifacts of functional purpose, with very distinct patterns to them.

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