View of exhibition's poster (detail) © Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

View of exhibition’s poster (detail) © Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Taba Naba – Australia, Oceania, Arts by Peoples of the Sea is a six-month exhibition on the theme of oceans and water, taking place at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco from 24 March to 30 September 2016.

The exhibition is overtaking the entire Oceanographic Museum, with artworks being not only inside the building, but investing in the outdoor space (including the terrace and the building façades). The different works (paintings, installations, sculptures, artefacts…) highlight the strong interdependency between people and their environment, and address contemporary issues from a societal, ecological and philosophical perspective; they are featured in three interrelated sections:

– Australia: Defending the Oceans at the Heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art

This section showcases six monumental installations created by fifty leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, who, through their works, raise a cry of alarm against the pollution of the oceans. Far from taking a dark approach to these environmental issues, the artists address them with humour and subtlety. This first chapter has been designed as a fairy tale. These works of monumental size, exhibited both inside and outside the museum, is giving visitors the sensation of being transported into Alice’s Underwater Wonderland. Read more…

– Living Waters

Living Waters presents an impressive selection of over 100 works by nearly 60 artists in many different media, chosen from Australian and European public and private collections, including the Sordello Missana Collection, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Utrecht (AAMU), and the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM). It also features site-specific installations and collaborative works between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, aiming to create a dialogue between Indigenous and Western knowledge production, their transcultural histories and ideas, and thereby challenge existing understandings of Indigenous art. Read more…

– Oceania islanders: past masters in sea navigatation and artistic expression

Bringing the Pacific Islander vision together with those of Australian Aborigines, displaying similarities as well as differences, such is the purpose of this voyage across these works of past and present. The exhibition focuses on the cultural relationships that Pacific peoples have with the sea, through a presentation of traditional navigational objects, objects of prestige from the Solomon Islands, a series of Papuan portraits and a set of large-scale Baining marine animal representations.


What we are showcasing here is the art of people discussing their relationship with nature, in an unending dialogue that links ancestral tradition and modernity. The culture of the ocean belongs to these people who live with it, developing a balanced, healthy relationship that can and must inspire us all. All of the artists taking part in this exhibition-event are facing the same issue: the need to protect the oceans and water more generally.” –
Patrick Piguet, Heritage Director, Oceanographic Institute – Curator of the Taba Naba exhibition


Alick Tipoti - "Sowlal", 2016 - Roof top installation - Artwork © Alick Tipoti - Photo by Michel Dagnino © The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Alick Tipoti – “Sowlal”, 2016 – Roof top installation – Artwork © Alick Tipoti – Photo by Michel Dagnino © The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco


Where does the name Taba Naba come from?
Taba Naba is a traditional Indigenous children’s song from the Torres Strait, a group of islands located near the northern coast of Australia. It is accompanied by a sitting dance that singers perform with gestures throughout the song. The original version of the song is in the Meriam language. It evokes the pleasures of fishing on the reefs.



General Curator: Patrick PIGUET, Director of Heritage of the Oceanographic Institute (Monaco).
General Associate Curator: Hélène LAFONT-COUTURIER, Director of the Musée des Confluences (Lyon).
Section Australia: Defending the oceans at the heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait island art: Curated by Stéphane JACOB, Director of the Arts d’Australie –  Stéphane Jacob gallery (Paris), assisted by Suzanne O’CONNELL, Director of the Suzanne O’Connell gallery (Brisbane).
Section Living Waters:
– Main Curator: Dr Erica IZETT, Independent Curator and Researcher at the University of Western Australia (Australia);
– Associate Curators: Dr Georges PETITJEAN, Curator of the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht (The Netherlands); Donna CARSTENS, Manager of Indigenous Programs, National Maritime Museum Australian (Australia);
– Associate Catalogue Editors: Prof. Ian McLean, University of Wollongong (Australia) and Margo Neale, Senior Indigenous Curator, National Museum of Australia (Canberra).
Section Oceania islanders: past masters in sea navigatation and artistic expression: Curated by Didier ZANETTE, Director of DZ Galeries (Paris, Nice, Noumea).


SOURCE: Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

– Visitor’s Guide of exhibition “Taba Naba”