TUNGARU: THE KIRIBATI PROJECT
Established 2014 Aotearoa New Zealand
Tungaru is a collaborative project inspired by the strong connections that New Zealand born artist Chris Charteris has made quite recently with his ancestral homeland and extended i-Kiribati family. Raised in a Pakeha family, Charteris initially believed he was of Māori heritage and trained as a carver. Later discovering he was of Kiribati and Fijian heritage reinforced his sense of the importance of ‘knowing who we are and where we come from’. The indigenous name for Kiribati is Tungaru, which means to gather together in a joyous way. Returning to this name for their project, Charteris and collaborating artists come together to celebrate the resilience of the islands’ ancestral culture as well as the contemporary concerns faced by its people. Drawing on knowledge held by community elders and museum collections and creating artworks in response to these, this group reflects on the nature of culture and identity in a global world.
Tungaru has also worked with the QAGOMA Children's Art Centre to develop a project for APT9 Kids