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Title: Art and identity in the Mariana Islands : issues of reconstructing an ancient past.
Author: Flores, Judy.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1999
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The Marianas, a chain of small tropical islands in western Micronesia, were the first to be subjected to colonisation in the Pacific and are among the last to move into self-governance. The islands were administered as a Spanish colony for 230 years following establishment of a Jesuit mission in 1668. The United States claimed Guam during the Spanish-American War in 1898, while Germany then Japan and finally the United States governed the Northern Marianas. This long period of colonisation largely obliterated the native Chamorros' consciousness of an indigenous past. Rapid social changes that began in the 1960s had severely undermined the Chamorro sense of identity by the beginning of the 1980s. Counterforces, however, were beginning to take shape, driven by local as well as international movements. Using Chamorro art as a theme, this thesis traces the history of the native people and their cultural transformations which defined their identity as a continuing cultural group, despite their loss of an indigenous history. Recent social, economic and political changes have triggered a movement to express their identity as a people separate from their colonisers. Indigenous artists are involved in a renaissance of artistic creation that draws on perceptions of their pre-contact culture for inspiration. Chapters explore the beginnings of a self-conscious cultural awareness and subsequent reconstruction of their ancient history, expressed through neo-traditional creations of song, dance and visual art forms. Their sources of inspiration and processes of creating identity symbols from an ancient past are revealed through extensive interviews and fieldwork. Indigenous ways of looking at history and perceptions of both insiders and outsiders regarding validation of these art forms are discussed in terms of local examples which are compared to Pacific and global movements of decolonisation and identity formation. The text is referenced by an appendix of over 150 photographic examples of Chamorro art and artefacts from museums, historical documents and fieldwork
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Spanish colonial art Art Anthropology Folklore Archaeology