The archipelago of meaning: Methodological contributions to the study of Vanuatu sand drawing

Simon Devylder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Vanuatu sand drawing has been listed by UNESCO since 2006 and has both fascinated and puzzled researchers from various disciplines for over a century. The inherent multi-dimensionality of the practice makes analysis complex, and until very recently developing a systematic methodology to study this intangible art form was difficult. This paper aims to contribute to filling this gap with the analysis of a corpus of sand drawings documented on the island of Paama in 2019. A detailed methodological toolkit is proposed to better understand the complex morphology of the drawings and their multi-layered meaning and function. This paper offers the first few steps along a journey toward designing integrated comparative methods of analysis that can not only potentiate unprecedented insights into the cultural practice of Vanuatu sand drawing, but also more broadly help us understand how worldviews, beliefs and societal structures spread across time and space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-327
JournalAustralian Journal of Anthropology
Volume33
Issue number2
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Humanities

Keywords

  • art
  • cultural studies
  • culture
  • indigenous people

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