Book Review

Varilaku

Pacific Arts from the Solomon Islands

by by Crispin Howarth

Varilaku – Pacific arts from the Solomon Islands is the accompanying book to the 2011 exhibition of the same name held by the National Gallery of Australia, focusing on kastom (traditional) art from the Solomon Islands and Bougainville in Papua new Guinea, dating from the 1860’s to the 1940’s.

Varilaku does a great job of showing how the physical objects – 64 figures, bowls, canoe prows and necklaces from Australian Museum collections, combine with with the traditional beliefs in ghosts and ancestor worship,

It includes numerous field images and information on the individual objects. Overall a good introduction to the unique material culture of the Solomon Islands. There is a Foreword by David Attenborough.