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The Ulumate Project

Ticket Information

  • Free Admission


  • Sat 22 Jun 2024, 10:00am–5:00pm
  • Sun 23 Jun 2024, 10:00am–5:00pm
  • Mon 24 Jun 2024, 10:00am–5:00pm
  • Tue 25 Jun 2024, 10:00am–5:00pm
  • Wed 26 Jun 2024, 10:00am–5:00pm

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All Ages


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From the artist collective, Na Tolu, an exhibition of photographs, masks, body adornment, and the first ulu cavu (hair wig) made in more than 200 years.

Ulumate or ‘dead head’ describes the ancient practice of human hair wig-making by iTaukei (Indigenous Fijians) that’s been inactive in Fiji for two centuries. Ulumate was traditionally observed during a time of mourning when the drau-ni-ulu (hair) was cut and made into a wig, then worn until the hair beneath grew back. In pre-Christian Fiji, ulu cavu (hair wigs) were also worn in warfare. Post-colonisation, qita (selected men) wore ulu cavu as they stood guard over the village plantation.

Na Tolu, founded by Joana Monolagi, Ole Maiava and Daren Kamali, has been revitalising the practice of ulumate through research informed by ulu cavu held within institutional collections and by historic images of iTaukei.

The Ulumate Project is developed by Objectspace and supported by Creative New Zealand.

Image: Na Tolu, Ulu cavu (detail), 2021. Hair and magimagi (coconut sinnet) string lace

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