A game of two sites!


Staged to coincide with the huge events this year in New Zealand, Oceania is a landmark collaboration between Te Papa and City Gallery Wellington.
The exhibition of Pacific art and artefacts is part of the Real New Zealand Festival – a Ministry of Culture and Heritage initiated line-up of events designed to showcase New Zealand culture to international visitors and kiwis alike. The substantial collection works marks the first time the capital’s two major entities have formerly co-exhibited.
As Foundation Sponsor of the City Gallery, Designworks was asked to brand the event –designing the visual ID, website and marketing material for two complimentary exhibitions: ‘Early encounters at Te Papa’ and ‘Imagining the Pacific’ at City Gallery.
The two different collections can roughly be classified as ‘historical’ and ‘contemporary interpretation’ respectively – although actual artefacts and interpretive art works appear in both.
This is an exhibition where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Promotional material states “Your experience is not complete unless you’ve visited both sites of the exhibition.”
Our brief was to support and explain the duality of the exhibition through event branding. We needed to design an identity that would stretch to represent cultural exchange between Europe and the Pacific covering more than 300 years – from first contact in the 18th century, up until the present day.
Designers, Paul Johnson and Eileen Schwab, literally tore the word Oceania in half to reveal the two different identities that reflect the two different shows within the whole. The ‘rip’ that separates and joins the shows could be seen as a rift and also a wave.
Typography for ‘Early Encounters’ was influenced by Captain Cook’s exploratory maps hand-rendered cartography and botanist drawings, while ‘Imagining the Pacific’ uses cinematic electric neon to juxtapose new media techniques with old.
You can view the Oceania website here.