Collecting in the South Sea - Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys

Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys

Fanny Wonu Veys is curator Oceania at the National Museum of World Cultures, a Dutch umbrella organization comprising the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden; the Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal; and the Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam.

She has previously worked at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge (UK) (2004–2006, 2008–2009) and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) (2006–2007) and at the Musée du Quai Branly (Paris) (2007–2008). In 2022, she will be a fellow at the Swedish Collegium for advanced study in Uppsala.

She has curated the Mana Maori exhibition (2010–2011) in Leiden and published a book with the same title. She co-curated a barkcloth exhibition Tapa, Étoffes cosmiques d’Océanie in Cahors (France).

More recently she was the lead curator for Things that Matter (2017-), What a Genderful World (2019-2020; 2021-2022) and A Sea of Islands (2020-2021) and has collaborated on many other exhibitions including Migrating Objects: Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (2020) in Venice and Kirchner and Nolde: Expressionism. Colonialism (2021) in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Her fieldwork sites include New Zealand (since 2000), Tonga (since 2003) and more recently Arnhem Land, Australia (since 2014). Her topics of interest and expertise include Pacific art and material culture, museums and cultures of collecting, Pacific musical instruments, Pacific textiles, and the significance of historical objects in a contemporary setting.

She has published dozens of articles in journals and books. Her most recent single author book is Unwrapping Tongan Barkcloth: Encounters, Creativity and Female Agency (Bloomsbury, 2017). Her recent co-edited book is Collecting in the South Sea. The Voyage of Bruni d’Entrecasteaux 1791-1794. (Sidestone Press, 2018).

She is the editor of the National Museum of World Cultures series entitled Provenance which started in 2020. Since 2014 Veys is president of the Pacific Arts Association Europe; she is currently a board member of the European Society for Oceanists.

Veys is the secretary of the Stichting Paaseiland.