The Splendid Land by John Pule

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.


Varnish, oil, enamel, ink and resin on canvas
200 x 200 cm
Art Fund grant:
£11,500 ( Total: £23,918)
Acquired in:
Gow Langsford Gallery

Looking at Pacific histories of encounter and empire, and inspired specifically by the voyages of Captain Cook and their legacies, Pule’s work is impressive both for its sheer artistic accomplishment, and for the subtlety of the artist’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.

Venue details

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Downing Street, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 3DZ 01223 333516

Entry details

Free entry to all

Tue – Sat, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Sun, 12noon – 4.30pm

Closed for approximately one week at Christmas and the New Year (please check website for dates) and on on Good Friday and Easter Sunday