21 Mar 2022  |  Diego Muñoz

A visual gallery of Rapanui carvings

Museum Fünf Kontinente in co-operation with LMU Munich, Center for Advanced Studies

In the project Recollecting Rapa Nui, we inquire, on the one hand, how Rapa Nui has become a place of scientific interest and material appropriation and, on the other, how the status of Rapanui things has changed according to different knowledge regimes (e.g., art and ethnography) and different temporalities (e.g., linear chronologies and cyclical time).

For this purpose, we have built a visual gallery of Rapanui carvings stored in German museums and other institutions across the world. The carvings are organized into Rapanui categories and in chronological order, from early to contemporary examples. Furthermore, we have added newly generated historical information about the origins and circulation of individual items.

In this paper I will present the gallery and propose how we can use it. On the one hand, the gallery is an archive to work on the history of collections and to analyze Rapanui carvings across time. On the other hand, it is a methodological tool to analyze the current Indigenous perspective on art, ethnography, and their own temporalities.

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