Author:Deborah Waite (University of Hawai'i)
Paper short abstract:
The paper focuses on the image of A'a, Austral Islands and deals with presences as affective entities of any and all sorts that convey a certain visual/physical tangibility contextually recognizable for (and by) socially appropriate viewers.
Paper long abstract:
A dialectic of simultaneous presences operates visually (indexically and iconically) and materially to define the high-ranking social aagency of the figure of A'a from Rurutu Island, Austral island group in Central Polynesia. The image has been thoroughly analyzed, resulting in recently established age (AD 1506-1645), sandalwood material (a somewhat controversial designation from a Polynesian perspective) and suggested evidence for the use of the figure as a coffin (cf. Hooper, Adams, et al (200, 2016). It has been analyzed by Gell as a fractal image having different scales of magnification/minification (Gell 1998). I go beyond Gell to include ritual and material presences found in other arts from Rururtu and Ra'ivavae island, Australs group, Tahiti and Cook Islands to conclude with an ultimate definition of presences as affective entities of any and all socially relevant sorts that convey a certain visual/physical tangibility contextually acknowledged by socially appropriate viewers.
The Anthropology of Creativity in Art