An Architecture of Repatriation for East Rennell, Solomon Islands
This project begins by envisioning the repatriation of objects made by the 19th century inhabitants of East Rennell, Solomon Islands, taken from the island as part of collection activities undertaken during British colonial rule. While the southern portion of the island has been declared a World Heritage site, the northern end is occupied by a mine that produces bauxite, an ore used in the production of aluminum. The objects, which were transported to the British Museum in London along colonial shipping routes, now return via the contemporary global shipping network in a set of generic containers. Upon arrival, the repatriated objects are deposited in an architecture of components that echo the island’s cultural history, emphasizing these objects’ connection to Rennellese architecture, community spaces and traditional surface ornament.