Places & Spaces Whilst Away

Galerie Lapita – Oceanic Art

March 24, 2014

While in Nice earlier this year I visited the exquisite Galerie Lapita. Settled in New Caledonia since 1990, Didier ZANETTE has always been fascinated by primitive art. He keeps on exploring Indonesia, Oceania, and more particularly Melanesia, searching for tribal art objects.

I’m not an expert in ‘tribal art’ and where it originates from so did a little research. The field of African art is distinct from African-American art. The term ‘tribal art’ is also often used to describe African art.

Oceanic Art , what Galerie Lapita specialises in, properly encompasses the artistic traditions of the people indigenous to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. They would come to interact and together reach even the most remote Pacific islands. These early peoples lacked a writing system, and made works on perishable materials, so few records of them exist from this time. It should also be noted that Oceanic peoples traditionally did not see their work in the western concept of ‘art’, but rather created objects for the practical purpose of use in religious or social ceremonies, or for use in everyday life. (source: Wikipedia)

The Lapita culture or tradition was a pre-historic Pacific Ocean people and society dating from about 1600 BCE to 500 BCE. Archaeologists believe that the Lapita was the ancestor of historic cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia, and some coastal areas of Melanesia. The Lapita were perhaps the most advanced people of their day in seamanship and navigation, reaching out and finding islands separated from each other by hundreds of miles of empty ocean. Their descendants, the Polynesians, would populate islands from Hawaii to Easter Island, possibly even reaching the South American continent. (source: Wikipedia)

Galeria Lapita offers high quality tribal art objects that include Ceremonial & Ancestral Masks, Figures, Woven Abelam Items, Adornments & Utensils, Tribal Jewelry and aboriginal paintings. Some of their quality tribal art is specifically from the Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. There are also aboriginal paintings and some African art.

The most imposing Carved Wooden Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Tribal Jewellery. Date and Tribe unknown.

African Drums | Very early Wooden Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Weapons: Shield. Date and Tribe unknown.

Wooden Painted Sculptures. Date and Tribe unknown.

Tribal figure with Jewellery | Very early Wooden Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Carved Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Aboriginal Painting. Date and Tribe unknown.

Aboriginal Paintings. Date and Tribe unknown.

Wall of Aboriginal Art. Date and Tribe unknown.

Photograph of Tribal Figure.

Well I came away mega inspired and felt very much in awe of these unique pieces. Do any of you have experiences with Tribal Art? I’d love to know….

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  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey March 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Interesting stuff & an area I have no knowledge of. Really like the last pic of the tribes figure. Pretty amazing actually! I’ve never been ‘into’ this kind of art but can certainly appreciate its origin, heritage and value.

    Nice text overview as well. And I learned what BCE means too 😉

    Hope Berlin has been fabulous xx

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:27 am

      I also have very little knowledge in this area but seeing it all in the gallery space made me want to know a little more.

      It’s fascinating to see how such early art is so strong, impactful and still current.

      The tribal figures look amazing. They had many postcards for sale and I could have bought them all. They are part of my inspiration wall.

      Glad it was a little educational.

      Berlin was fab as ever and it was so good to stay with Holly. Loved her place and loved being there… xx

  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome March 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I don’t have any experiences with tribal art, but know that original and authentic Aboriginal art can command high prices. These pieces are amazing, such beautiful craftsmanship. Hope you’re having a great time away in Berlin!

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Yes, have always been fascinated with Aboriginal Art but wouldn’t have a clue of prices, vlaue et cetera. I like the simplicity and colours often used in their paintings.

      Had a great time in Berlin. Thanks lovely xx

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily March 25, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I’m with Gerard and Catherine on this one-not enough knowledge on tribal art, but do appreciate the heritage. I actually love the black and white art piece. I think Mel @armoire featured some black and white artwork on her blog too-drawn to that far more than the coloured pieces, but never the less, still wonderful to look at! Having fun at Dudu’s?! 😉 xx

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

      It’s interesting because in this case I’m also drawn to the black and white. The colours can sometimes be too much, too vibrant and not subtle enough.

      Still, the heritage is amazing and we have much to learn from it.

      Dudu was fab:-)) Managed to go there 3 times only! Was thinking of you guys xx

  • Reply Britta March 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    We have a large collection of tribal masks and statues, but I am afraid I am with the others when it comes to knowledge. Do love them though for their beauty and craftsmanship. Enjoy Berlin Britta

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Wow, I bet they look wonderful. I totally agree. Their beauty and craftsmanship is incredible.

      Thanks for your comment x

      Email me and ask anything about Berlin. It was brilliant and I can’t wait to go back.

  • Reply Mel March 26, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Oh this kind of thing gets my pulse racing. I love tribal art and we have a few statues from Africa and New Caledonia albeit I’m not very knowledgeable. I also have a small collection of contemporary Aboriginal art as I have a friend in the industry. I’m not 100% but I do think that the first Aboriginal painting might be a Barbara Weir in the “grass seed” style that she does. From what I believe (I could be wrong) Aboriginals usually focus their art style to their particular area. Grass seeds in one area, bush melons to another, dot painting to another. Lovely post dear! Mel xx

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

      There is something really captivating about Tribal Art. I’m not sure it’s becuase of its heritage or because it’s imposing and demands attention. I also love masks and statues but don’t own any.

      How exciting that you have some statues and contemporary Aboriginal art. I bet having a friend in the industry helps with selection and some knowledge of it.

      That is so interesting about ‘focusing’ their artstyle to the particular regions. I suppose I’m most familiar with the dot paintings.

      I love the ‘grass seed’ one.
      Thank you for your comment and enlightment Mel xx

  • Reply Anya Jensen March 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t know much of the history of tribal art, but bought a few pieces from the Zulu tribes when I visited S.A – not sure it is actual tribal art, but I love the pieces nonetheless. I might have to visit this place on my pending Nice visit – looks great. Hope you enjoyed Berlin 🙂
    Take care,

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Pieces from Zulu tibes sounds wonderful.
      I like when people buy art for emotional reasons, because it speaks to them… rather than just for investment purposes.

      The Galleries are in the old city. No doubt you’ll be visiting there. When are you going? i’m also taking another trip.

      Berlin was magical xx

  • Reply alison sye March 27, 2014 at 6:39 am

    It’s so rich, in every sense. Beautiful, Tina x

    • Reply tina March 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Oh, ‘rich’ is the word i was looking for.
      Thanks Alison, glad you like them. xx

  • Reply Doris March 28, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I also have very little knowledge of Tribal art but I can appreciate the work involved in creating them like the aboriginal artwork. A nice post that is visually stimulating. Thanks D

    • Reply tina March 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      I would assume you came across some aboriginal art being Australian..thank you, glad you found it visually stimulating xx

  • Reply Holly March 30, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I don’t know much about tribal art, but I do have some exposure to the art of the indigenous people of Canada (Inuits, Metis and First Nations). Totem poles still always fascinate me 🙂

    This looks like it was a nice exhibit. I really love the paintings. Thanks for sharing!


    • Reply tina March 31, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      I kind of wished I had more knowledge of it. It’s a very specialised field.

      Oh, yes, that’s cool. Totem poles… you see I’m not even that good in differentiating…
      It was a gallery space, in fact, 2 spaces. Yes, the paintings were beautiful xx

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