The artwork portrays a scene featuring a family of three generations of women standing together amidst the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, their gaze fixed on a bright promising future. Adorned with a flower in her ear, the mother’s choice of accessory symbolizes one of Isaia Batiratu’s motifs found in his tapa art (see page 12). The grandmother, proudly wearing a Samoan ‘ula lei (whale ivory necklace), skilfully wields a fishing spear, signifying the vital role fishing plays in her village and the integral place it holds in her traditions. The fishing spear symbolizes the essential role of fishing in pacific villages and the deep-rooted place it holds in our traditions. The child in the middle proudly wears a Melanesian pattern, a symbolic representation of Lapita pottery – a form of fired pottery that embodies the ancestral craftsmanship of our people.
In the background, a canoe stands as a powerful symbol, representing the profound connection Pacific people share with the land, sea, and sky. Across the Pacific, the voyaging canoe holds a deep significance, representing genealogy and ancestral connections. Pacific Islanders trace their origins back to specific canoes, considering them sacred and living treasures. The canoe symbolizes heritage, storytelling, and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. It serves as a powerful metaphor, reminding us of the interconnectedness of people and their roots. Within the canoe’s embrace, the past and the future unite, carrying the rich narratives and traditions of Pacific Island communities. The canoe also appears in the USP logo, symbolizing the connection our 12 member countries have through oceans and voyages.
In the bottom right corner, the motif depicts a Micronesian navigational chart from the Marshall Islands, crafted from wood, sennit fiber, and cowrie shells. This chart embodies our people’s deep-rooted heritage and seafaring traditions.
All the motifs incorporate a fusion of Micronesian, Polynesian, and Melanesian influences and serves as a cultural symbol, representing our diverse and vibrant heritage.
The art also resonates with our belief in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” which emphasizes the collective effort contributed by parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers, and caregivers in nurturing and educating children. Through these shared experiences, our stories highlight the profound impact individuals have on others, drawing from their time at The University of the South Pacific.
The wisdom passed down through generations is treasured as it preserves ancient tales, traditions, and culture. The embrace of family lies at the heart of our communities, serving as the foundation of our way of life and bringing us our greatest joy as Pacific Islanders.
Guided by the successes achieved across generations, we set our sights on new horizons, ready to embark on the next phase of our journey.