|This exhibition was first shown at The Custom House Gallery, University of Queensland, Brisbane in May 2006, and following in June 2009 at www.floatingland.com.au|
On flying north of Fiji, the capital atoll of Tuvalu, Funafuti, Fogafale emerges from the vast Pacific like a thin green ribbon; one senses it's vulnerability immediately. Hinting at its beauty other islets sparkle to the north, south and west.
The real riches of Tuvalu lie in its people; 2000 years of habitation in this far away place has developed an enduring culture. The Polynesian term, Te Fenua, in Tuvalu is the home island, it also describes the people, their ancestors and traditions, as well as the lands and seas, from which once grew all sustenance. Te Fenua comes most vividly alive at a Fatele, lively and loud song and dance in celebration of milestones and life itself.
Ancestors revered, elders respected, families are large and extended, and the hopeful future of Tuvalu, the children, enliven mornings with laughter and play.
Tuvalu is best known globally as one of the low lying, small island developing states most gravely threatened by climate change, global warming and particularly sea level rise. The damage caused is usually not spectacular, rather creeping, nibbling, and debilitating. It amplifies human-caused assaults - over population caused by ‘urban drift’ from eight outer islands to the capital since Independence in 1978, and WW11 excavations, the borrow pits that built the airport runway also initiated pollution of the water table.
'Tuvalu mo te Atua' ,Tuvalu for the Almighty, is the country's national motto, emphasising its deep Christian faith. Many Tuvaluans do not believe God will allow the seas to flood their homes.
Tuvalu reminds us culture is the outcome of heritage and place and by shifting the place we dissipate the culture,
and in Tuvalu we see the ways of ancestors when in the absence of foreign influence,
population and resource found sustainable balance .
© Jocelyn Carlin 2006