John Pule is one of the most significant Pacific Islands artists working in any media today, and the most accomplished Pacific painter of his generation.

Looking at Pacific histories of encounter and empire, and inspired specifically by the voyages of Captain Cook and their legacies, PuleÂ’s work is impressive both for its sheer artistic accomplishment, and for the subtlety of the artistÂ’s engagement with historical issues. It encourages us to understand colonial encounters as strange, creative, fertile, and dangerous. Pule does not simply censure the navigator or engage in some facile re-appropriation. He instead evokes confusing and ambiguous scenes, involving both communication and conflict, gift-giving and violence, particularly through detailed drawings that form elements of these paintings, that are inspired by sketches by Cook voyage artists such as William Hodges and John Webber.


The artist.

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