The Conru Collection
Kevin Conru and Deborah Waite
Photography by Hughes Dubois
One of the most important private collections dedicated to the art from the Solomon Islands.
The sea is the single greatest source of inspiration for the art from the Solomon Islands, which are located northeast of New Guinea. Artistic forms, embellishments, designs, functions, and materials are drawn from a watery canvas that are subtly nuanced, yet richly homogenous. In the art of the Solomons, there is a link between the visual and the practical. Objects are created with an understanding of pure, aquiline forms, and are shaped to give the most graceful outline and poised balance.
This book presents the Conru collection of art from the Solomon Islands, which encompasses a broad assortment of images, weapons, body ornaments and other artifacts. So numerous and diverse are the objects from this island group that it is difficult for a single collection to be totally representative. However, the collection approximates a representative status, comprising masks from Nissan and Buka, a large figure from Bougainville, as well as imagery and other artifacts from the western down through the southeastern islands. The artworks range from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.
Kevin Conru has written on the photographic work of Hugo Bernatzik and on the arts of Southern Africa. He is a museum studies graduate of London University, and currently works in the field of Oceanic ethnography.
Deborah Waite teaches Pacific and African art history in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Hawaii. She has written two books on art from the Solomon Islands in other collections.