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Monday 16 May 2016 | Published in Regional


GUAM – Indigenous artworks from Guam are being collected for an exhibition at New Zealand’s national museum in an effort to promote the culture across the region.

The collaboration between Te Papa and Humanities Guahan will focus specifically on the Chamorro culture, including works by master carvers, weavers, and blacksmiths.

Humanities Guahan’s executive director Kimberlee Kihleng says the project is the first of its kind in the region.

Dr Kihleng says it will promote a presence of Chamorro art and expand efforts to reflect Guam’s place in the larger Pacific community.

Te Papa’s senior curator of Pacific Cultures Sean Mallon says the people of Micronesia are currently under-represented in their collections.

Mallon says the project will update the collections and advance the museum’s aspiration to document the changing lives and culture of the Pacific.

The first selection will include works by master carver Jill Benavente, master blacksmith Francisco Lizama, and weavers James Bamba and Mark Benavente.

The Chamorro people are the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands. The Chamorro are commonly believed to have come from Southeast Asia at around 2000 BC.