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Timelines of World Art: Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific

c. 1750

Male chiefs in the Hawaiian Islands wear feather capes and helmets that distinguish their genealogy based on the size, design and types of feathers used to make the garments. Read more...

c. 1800–c. 1900

Torres Strait Islanders in the Pacific fashion masks and headdresses of turtle-shell and wood for use in their nighttime rites of passage ceremonies. Read more...

c.1800–c.2000

Large carved wooden masks are used in New Caledonia for ceremonies to support the ruler's status. These long-faced masks are individualized by the form of their prominent noses. Read more...

c. 1850

Craftsmen in the western Solomon Islands fashion elaborately decorated shields of cane, clay and mother-of-pearl inlay. Read more...

c.1850–1900

Colonists in Australia rapidly adopt photographic technologies to document the native landscape, flora, fauna and people. Landscape photography in particular plays a key role in constructing a national identity. Read more...

1930–1940

Palauan artists begin to depict scenes from traditional legends and events on portable 'storyboards' and create a new and important form of art in Palau, Micronesia. Read more...

1957–1973

Jørn Utzon wins the competition to build Sydney's Opera House with a shell-like design that mimics waves and sails, both references to the building's location. Read more...

1995–2000

The booming Australian art market generates international acclaim for contemporary artists, bringing works by Aboriginal artists into the spotlight. A younger generation of artists working in installation, photography and video create media focus and participate in biennales and art fairs worldwide. Read more...


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