Missionaries encounter the Other: historic photographic exhibition | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Missionaries encounter the Other: historic photographic exhibition

6 May–5 June

An unusual historic photographic exhibition held in association with Dr Catherine Frerichs and the Art Galleries of Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA, this exhibition explores the relationships of New Guineans and missionaries in 1940’s and 1950’s New Guinea. In the early years, the New Guineans revered white people as ancestors. In contrast, whites often saw the “natives” as barely human.

Over time, both parties dramatically changed their views, which made it possible for them to work together. Dr Frerichs’ parents were American Lutheran missionaries who worked with other American, German, and Australian missionaries and New Guineans to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Guinea in the 1960s, as part of the preparation for the nation becoming independent.

Image: Albert FRERICHS, Kamano tribe members, Raipinka, Territory of New Guinea, ca.1942.

The Fiji Project

6 May–5 June

A modern and productive approach to intercultural relationships is demonstrated in the exciting and wonderful Fiji Project also showing in the Gallery. Lead by University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer Dr Gayle Mayes, the Fiji Project takes students from the Faculties of Business; Arts and Social Science and Science, Health and Education on biannual visits to a remote village in the Fiji highlands.

The students are working with the locals to begin building a health and education centre and they have been involved in projects including health and medical research, installing water filters, teaching English to children and adults, teaching small business skills, and workshopping such things as ecotourism, sustainable and organic farming, growing healthy foods and crop diversification. In turn, USC students attend workshops with the Fijian community on singing, dancing, languages and art.

Image: Fijian villagers with University of the Sunshine Coast Students, 2009