Oceanic art refers to the artistic works and artworks (crafts and arts) produced by the indigenous peoples of Australia and the Pacific Islands, which have a broad geographical region such as Easter Island and Hawaii. Masks, tattoos, wood carving, drawings, and stone carving were among the indigenous people’s artistic works, and they played an important role in conveying concepts of supernatural and fertility during social truths and religious ceremonies. The Oceanic people did not want their creations to be viewed as art; rather, they intended to produce objects for religious purposes. The Traditional Gender Roles in Oceanic Art and Culture
The indigenous Oceanic people are historically known to cultivate sensualism, intense sexual activity and eroticism as social functions. The relationship of women and men was mutually respectful and relatively harmonious. There was no gender equality but ideologies of female inferiority and male superiority. Women were associated with fertility rituals, motherhood and menstrual pollution while the men were associated with circumcision and male domination. Both genders exchanged ceremonial valuables during auspicious ceremonies. Women are believed to be the shapers of the Oceanic cultures.
The Importance of the Sea to the Art of Micronesia
Located in the Pacific, Micronesia is comprised of 2500 islands and is characterized by its distinct, streamlined designs, functional forms and sophisticated decoration designs. The sea plays an integral role in their lives; it serves as a fishing hub for food, ocean voyage and conduit for political alliances and trade networks. The Micronesians live under the mercy of the sea, by being vulnerable to storms and benefiting from the shoreline deposits brought by ocean waves. Because the sea permeated all around their lives they made symbolic religious objects such as albatross beak from sea birds, played the role of their god. Objects pivotal to their survival such as canoes and boats were decorated with carvings and paintings.
Importance of Tattooing to Oceanic Arts to the Polynesians
The Oceanic people and the Polynesians have known to embrace the art of tattoo for ages to mark and highlight various status and ranks in their troupes and they had distinct unique designs than had unique stories behind them. This made it very easy to identify their originality based on the designs of their tattoos. Each tattoo had a story behind it for instance, tattoos in womens private parts were meant to be seen only by their husbands (lovers tattoo), very dark tattoos in a womans body meant she had given birth to many children, as it was redone after every child birth and it was a source of pride for women.
The Meaning of Aboriginal Dreamings Images
The Aboriginal Dreaming means to see as is and understand the world. Dreaming Images pass knowledge of belief systems, cultural values through dance, song, story-telling and painting. Dreaming events were enacted in dance and ceremonies in mimic form and song chants accompanied by clap sticks related the story of events of ancient era and brings dreams to life. Dreaming stories say they were spirit who came to earth inhuman form and as they moved around earth they created the plants, animals, rocks, oceans and all other earth forms, they had dominion over all. The religiously set aside sacred sites where they believed their ancestors resided linking the future, present and past people to the land. The Aboriginal people performed customary songs and religious rituals at the sacred sites to appease and keep the spirits alive. Different tribes idolized the ancestors in various forms such as, animal-spirits or huge snakes.