Number 9, December 2000

Number 9, November 2000

Speech by Soroi Marepo Eoe
Text of the address given by Soroi Marepo Eoe - President of Pacific Arts Association and Director, National Museum and Art Gallery of Papua New Guinea, at the Bremen Mini-Conference (General Meeting of Pacific Arts Association - Europe) May 12, 2000

Dr. Bernt Schulte, Senator of Internal Affairs, Culture and Sports of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen; Dr. Dieter Heintze, Conveyor of this Meeting, Distinguished Guests, Members of PAA, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me at the onset thank you, Senator Schulte, very much for your kind words of welcome that you have extended to the members of PAA and its Executive Board who are meeting here in this beautiful city of Bremen in the next three days. As an official representative of the Bremen state government, your presence this afternoon gives us great encouragement and high hopes for the future. Among other things your presence indicates to us your government's keen interest in and support of human cultures - especially cultures other than your own- of which "Art" is the highest manifestation of "human intellect."

As an international non-profit organization PAA takes note of and commends the German government's strong and unfailing support of programs for safeguarding and promoting cultures of mankind through your different governmental bodies. Also through international organizations such as UNESCO, and its associated groups such as ICOM, ICCROM, ICOMOS to name a few. Further, PAA also takes note of the great contributions in museums and universities made by German scientific and research institutions. Also to other European and American institutions in safeguarding human cultures and in particular cultures of the Pacific region, a region many have considered to be the last frontier of cultural research and dialogue.

"Research" and "Dialogue" are the two major cornerstones of the Pacific Arts Association, it is for these very reasons that the organization was founded in 1974, nearly 26 years ago. The fundamental question we should be asking ourselves is, have we or has PAA done enough for this same matter, i.e. the pursuance of our aims and objectives? Or, whose interests have we pursued, PAA's or our private interests? Can we do more? Do we have collective responsibilities? While I have misgivings about the past performances of PAA as an organization, I am heartened by the positive indications being made so far at the Bremen Meeting/Conference, PAA is moving in the right direction. Dialogue in my view is not one way traffic but rather two way, it is not how many volumes we put out, but rather what we put back in the local communities we study, and it is in this domain that PAA has failed.

At the time when the PAA European Committee is pondering as to what it plans to do in the future, please, bear in mind what I have alluded to above. Are there practical applications from our scientific and intellectual pursuits?

Wearing another hat as working Chairman of ICME (International Committee of Museums of Ethnography) on 'Repatriation,' I appeal to all of you to consider the issue of Repatriation of Cultural Objects under the 1970 Convention of UNESCO. Indeed this is a thorny issue that many of us do not wish to contemplate but we who work in the museums have come a long way. Perceptions about museum collections are changing, as have particularly many foreign cultures. I think we need to take a pro-active stand in this matter rather than do nothing. The forces that are exerted on the museums today are often ones that we have little or no control over, we need to be more prepared.

Last, but not least, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of over 300 members of the Pacific Arts Association, the institutions and governments who have accommodated and enabled us to contribute to the affairs of PAA in one form or another. I particularly wish to acknowledge the contributions of the recent past Council for its contribution to the running of PAA. We must acknowledge our weakness and move forward. You are just as important as current members of the Council. I do not acknowledge the contribution of one special person, a colleague, an outstanding scientist and above all a friend to the affairs of PAA and the museum profession in Germany and indeed the world. He is no other than Dieter Heintze, the recently retired Deputy Director of Ubersee Museum and the conveyor of this conference.

On behalf of PAA, your many colleagues and friends throughout the world, the staff of Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery, my family and myself I wish to express our sincere best wishes and God's Blessing as you get used to the life outside of the museum. Similarly, I wish to extend all our best wishes and thank you to Brigitte Soiné, for behind every successful man there is a loving and wonderful woman.

Finally, Similarly, I would be making a grave injustice, if on behalf of PAA I wish to again express our sincere appreciation and thank you to the Bremen City government, the Director of the Übersee Museum and The Society of the Friends of the Übersee Museum for your kind welcome and sharing your city with us.

Soroi Marepo Eoe
President, Pacific Arts Association

Thanks to Dieter Heintze for his assistance with the preparation of this text. Photograph (in the newsletter) by V.L.Webb

Pacific Arts Association's Sixth International Symposium Announced!
July 22-29, 2001
Emmanuel Kasarhérou
Cultural Director, Tjibaou Cultural Centre
Vice President, Pacific

For more information (including updates), go to Symposium Information on this website.

Pacific Arts Association Events at the College Arts Association Conference, Chicago February 28-March 1, 2001

The Executive Committee plans to meet Wednesday, February 28, 2001 at the Field Museum in Chicago. In addition to on-going business matters, the Board will be working on the program for PAAÍs Sixth International Symposium to be held July 22-29, 2001 in NoumÚa, New Caledonia, and Lifou, Loyalty Islands. Members are welcome to contact any of the Committee members with questions or issues that they would like discussed.

PAA members attending CAA, or those who live in the area, are invited to join the Executive Committee for dinner Wednesday evening, February 28. If you plan to attend please contact Carol Ivory by February 25. On Thursday, March 1, a panel on "Pacific Island Artists in A Global World" will take place as part of the College Art Association meeting in Chicago. The session is scheduled from 9:30am Ü Noon at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. The session is chaired by Carol Ivory and includes PAA members Hilary Scothorn, Karen Stevenson, and Susan Kennedy Zeller. (Note: there is a $35 single session fee for non-registered attendees).
Carol Ivory, Vice President

PAA Europe Meeting June 15-16, 2001 at Linden-Museum, Stuttgart
PAA Europe will hold its annual meeting for 2001 at the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany on June 15-16. An exhibition on the art of New Britain (Form, Farbe, Fantasien. Kunst aus Neubritannien), organized by Ingrid Heermann, will be on view. There will be a study session on the topic of the exhibition and a session on other subjects. Elections for the Administrative Council and the Board shall be called for at the General Assembly.
Christian Kaufmann, Chair
Philippe Peltier, Vice- Chair

Next Issue of Journal Ready for Publication
The final edited versions of the articles for Pacific Arts Journal, No.21 & 22, have been sent to the authors for approval. The volume will soon be in press at Hawaii Pacific University. The volume is a first for Pacific Arts in that it is entirely devoted to one topic. Our guest editor, Dr. Rainer Buschmann, has compiled a series of articles on the topic of early German collectors in the Pacific region. Although we have not been able to cover all of the major figures, this issue will provide some interesting insights into these important collections and the, often unexpected, forces that motivated the acquisitions.
Jerome Feldman, Editor

Please remember to renew your annual membership dues. Send payments, names, and address changes to Robert Welsch, 6047 Silsby Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755 USA.

PAA-Europe members should send their dues (including a $4 supplement) to Yves LeFur, trésorier, Musée national des arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, 293, avenue Daumesnil, F-75012 Paris, France.

Pacific Arts Association
Virginia-Lee Webb
C/o The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York USA 10028

Thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the staff of Office Services for their assistance with the production of this newsletter.