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Documentary series. In his exploration of the collision of the West and Pacific culture, James Fox explores how the West has created a vision of Polynesia as paradise.

Continuing his exploration of the collision of the West and Pacific culture, James Fox explores how, ever since Captain Cook's voyages 250 years ago, the West has created a myth of Polynesia as paradise and, in doing so, destroyed the riches of indigenous culture.

He travels across the Pacific to uncover the sites and masterpieces of pre-contact Polynesian art, from the religious complex Taputapuatea on the island of Raiatea to the feathered 'Ku' heads from Hawaii, testament to the rich and sophisticated societies that once lived there. Yet, when Europeans encountered these cultures, waves of explorers, missionaries and colonisers destroyed what they didn't understand and appropriated what was left.

James Fox shows how, from Captain Cook's time onward, these islands were re-imagined as a paradise with women available to be exploited. It's an idea he traces from the Arcadian landscapes depicted by Cook's on-board artist, William Hodges, through the art of Paul Gauguin and on to the tacky holiday idyll of modern Hawaii. And yet, James Fox finds, some indigenous artists are fighting back, reviving the traditional cultures of Polynesia and using art to protest against the objectification of its women.

59 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:02

    Schiller

    Tag Und Nacht

  • 00:51

    Elvis Presley, The Jordanaires

    Hawaiian Sunset

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter James Fox
Executive Producer Russell Barnes
Assistant Producer Alex Brisland
Editor Tom Thistlethwaite
Production Manager Clare Burns
Composer Jack C Arnold
Production Company ClearStory Ltd
Director of photography Samuel Jackson
Director Ben Harding

Broadcasts

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