In 1982, Robin White and her family moved to Tarawa in Kiribati, a remote atoll in the central Pacific, to work with the Bahá'í community. This show features six series of works she made during the seventeen years she was there. Grounded in day-to-day details and exchanges, they draw on her experience of the place. The show encompasses a range of media, including woodcuts, woven pandanus tablemats, and a photography.
New Angel (1998)—made in collaboration with women from the Itoiningaina Catholic Women’s Training Centre—is set of woven tablemats, featuring images of products available in the local shops, including fresh bread, New Angel tinned mackerel, Instant Sunshine milk powder. The mats combine Christian imagery (bread and fish), ideas of community and hospitality, and Kiribati’s histories of contact and trade.
The photo series Young Warriors (1998) depicts a command bunker on Tarawa where, during World War II, Japanese soldiers were trapped and burnt in an American offensive. Bleak and empty, these spaces speak to a darker history of Pacific encounter, complicating the idea of a Pacific Islands paradise.
Alongside this show in Hirschfeld Gallery, White presents a major recent work, a masi Suka Siti (Sugar City) (2009–10)—made in collaboration with Fijian artists Leba Toki and Bale Jione—in West Gallery.