'Iles tragiques: histoires terribles et magnifiques' by Hugo Verlomme & David Konig

Les îles fascinent ; on les dit paradisiaques. Mais au-delà des clichés, une autre réalité transparaît, souvent terrible, effarante. Après ce livre, vous ne verrez plus les îles de la même façon ! Tour à tour prison ou utopie, l'île agit telle une loupe qui déforme les émotions. Dans ce huis-clos infernal, les passions s'exacerbent, parfois jusqu'aux pires furies criminelles. Chacune de ces histoires vraies fait apparaître des facettes de l'âme humaine au révélateur des îles. Un mélange explosif où se croisent pirates et aventuriers, négriers et utopistes, naufragés et déserteurs, sur les plus petites scènes du monde. Exécutions, complots, trahisons, viols, anthropophagie, supplices, domination, folie, deviennent alors le lot quotidien.

Helmet-Hornbill faces extinction

The Helmet-Hornbill is easily distinguished by having the front of its nearly vertical and slightly convex epithema composed of a solid mass of horn instead of a thin coating of the light and cellular structure found in the others. So dense and hard is this portion of the “helmet” that Chinese and Malay artists carve figures on its surface, or cut it transversely into plates, which from their agreeable colouring, bright yellow with a scarlet rim, are worn as brooches or other ornaments. This bird, which is larger than a raven, is also remarkable for its long graduated tail, having the middle two feathers nearly twice the length of the rest. Nothing is known of its habits. Its head was figured by George Edwards in the 18th century, but little else had been seen of it until 1801, when John Latham described the plumage from a specimen in the British Museum, and the first figure of the whole bird, from an example in the Museum at Calcutta, was published by General Hardwicke in 1823 (Trans. Linn. Society, xiv. pl. 23). Yet more than twenty years elapsed before French naturalists became acquainted with it.

Price Realized
(Set Currency)
  • $17,500
  • Price includes buyer's premium
    $18,000 - $25,000

Sale Information

Sale 1977 
The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Partii 
19 March 2008 
New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Lot Description

Of flattened form with flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a footrim, the material of warm, orange-yellow tone, carved through the red surface on the narrow sides with sinuous chidragons, coral stopper carved with a chi dragon, pearl finial and horn collar
2 3/8 in. (6.0 cm.) high 

Special Notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.


Hugh Moss Ltd. 


JICSBS, March 1978, front cover. 


Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992. 

Lot Notes

Hornbill was a valued substance to the Chinese well before snuff bottles came into fashion in the Qing dynasty. It came into its own, however, for the manufacture of Qing belt-buckles, snuff bottles, and other small objects during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Among the greatest carvers of the material was the scholarly artist known as Baishi, who signed his wares and dated two of them, establishing himself as having worked in the Daoguang period. Although many of his bottles are signed, it is also obvious that he produced unsigned works as well (see, for instance, a bottle formerly from the Meriem Collection, sold in these rooms, 19 September 2007, lot 707). Many of his signed works are carved with very similar chi dragon narrow sides, allowing the possibility that the workshop with which he was associated also made a range of plain bottles, the present example included.

International String Figure Association


Examples of Pacific String Figures

Caterpillar that comes after the rain

People of Biri

Bulging growth in the trank of a tomana tree

Chief Gaunubwe

Woman of Nauru

The String Figures of Nauru Island - Dan Coopey

A Loop of String, Approximately 72" in Circumference

 Allied pilots, during World War II, who had to fly over certain remote and exotic areas such as Borneo (now called Kalimantan), were encouraged to carry a loop of string up to six feet long, the ends of which were tied together to make a single loop about three feet long.  The idea was that if they crash landed their plane in an area where non-English-speaking natives were likely to be present, the pilot should (when someone approached through the jungle), casually take the loop of string from his pocket and begin to make a "cat's cradle" string figure, and as many other string figures as he knew.  It is said that, on more than one occasion, this was actually tried. 

In each case, the story goes, the native watched with increasingly friendly interest, and then politely borrowed the loop to demonstrate some string figures popular in his own tribe.  It seems to me that such an anthropological First Contact technique might be useful in extraterrestrial First Contact as well.  You will find out if and how the ET pays attention to your activity, have something to talk about, and -- after you've handed the loop to the ET -- learn something about how dexterously the ET manipulates at least one kind of object.  If you're very lucky, the ET will show you patterns of its own culture.  After all, the string figure has been (sometimes independently) discovered and perfected by members of the tribes, areas, or nations: Apache, Austria, Australia, Borneo, Chaco, Cherokee, China, Chippewa, Clayoquaht,  Denmark, England, Eskimo, France, Germany, Hawaii, India, Ireland, Japan, Kabyles, Kiwai, Klamath, Korea, Kwakiutl, Lifu, Melanesia, Natik, Nauru, Navaho, New Guinea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Omaha, Onandaga, Osage, Pawnee, the Philippines, Polynesia, Pueblo, Pygmy, Salish, Scotland, Switzerland, Tannas, Tewas, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Uap, Ulungu, Wajiji, and Zuni. 

The best reference on how to weave with both hands a hundred intricate patterns supposed to represent natural and artificial objects is String Figures and How to Make Them77.

Perhaps the most important anthropologist ever, Dr. Franz Boas, was the first to publish a careful description of how a so-called primitive people (Eskimo) make string figures, in 1888.  Other cultures use "a thong of skin... a cord of cocoanut fibre ... [or] of human hair finely plaited.  A woven cord which does not kink as easily as a twisted cord will prove most satisfactory; unfortunately, it cannot be spliced, the ends therefore must be knotted in a small square knot or laid together and bound round with thread.”

 An extract from: Me Human, You Alien: How to Talk to an Extraterrestrial

By Jonathan Vos Post.

(c) 1996 by Emerald City Publishing

an excerpt from a book entitled THE HANDBOOK OF UFO CONTACT, to appear Spring 1997, New York: William Morrow & Co.


Pacific Islanders and Obesity Rates. Source: BBC

Pacific islanders, especially women, are the fattest people in the world, according to latest figures published by the International Obesity Taskforce. Obesity is most often related to poverty, low economic status, exclusion from the health system.
"The Pacific is the world's capital of obesity," says Neville Rigby the director of International Obesity Taskforce's public affairs. The figures show that 55% of Tongan women, 74% of Samoan women and 77% of men and women living in Nauru are obese. This is two times the proportion of overweight people in developed countries.
The levels of obesity and chronic weight-related diseases in the Pacific have grown at an alarming rate, according to the report, which was prepared for the triennial Commonwealth health ministers meeting in New Zealand. "This is placing a tremendous burden on the health and well-being of individuals and communities and upon health care workers," the report said. Obesity is defined as an unhealthy amount of body fat. According to the World Health Organisation, an obese person is one whose body mass index, or weight in kilograms divided by the square of one's height in metres, exceeds 30. The report blames the trend on a move away from traditional diets towards fattier, western-style foods and a lack of exercise.
Cultural notions.
"The prevention and treatment of obesity in the Pacific is also made difficult by the traditional cultural notion that 'bigness' is a sign of wealth and power," the report said. The amount of hours spent watching TV has a direct effect on the obesity of children. "It is not about being rich and well fed. Obesity is most often related to poverty, low economic status, exclusion from the health system," Mr Rigby said. "In the Caribbean and many African countries, obesity is disregarded, ignored, neglected. It is just taken for granted that a poor, middle-aged woman gets fat and then dies from diabetes," he added. Mr Rigby, who is attending the Commonwealth health ministers meeting, said obesity rates in New Zealand were also rising at an alarming rate. "New Zealand hasn't been spared the obesity epidemic," he said. "Never in the history of the human race have so many people been so fat."
In New Zealand, 15% of men and 19% of women are obese. But the condition is worse among the country's Maori women - 27% of whom are obese - and Pacific Island women, 47% of whom are affected by the condition. He said juvenile obesity was also on the rise around the world because children were less active. "The amount of hours spent watching TV has a direct effect on the obesity of children," Mr Rigby said.
Various strategies were proposed for dealing with obesity. One was using taxes to encourage people to buy low-fat foods. Others were making children walk or cycle to school and limiting the size of portions served at take-away restaurants.

‘Still-Life with Parrot’ by Ian Whitfield, 2008, Oil on Canvas

New member: Christopher Robbins

I am Christopher Robbins, and as the newest member of the Nauru Project, I thought I'd take this first post to introduce myself.

I first got to know Nauru while working at the University of the South Pacific from 2002-2005, a University with campuses on 12 different island nations including Nauru, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. While conducting a research and development project at the Nauru campus, I was deeply struck by this little island with a hole in the middle, sitting plop in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I began to write about my experiences on Nauru, create sculptures based on Nauru, and make my own frenzied plots for saving this little island.

Almost five years later, I'm still thinking about Nauru: as an insanely compressed microcosm of the environmental reaping we are all involved in, as an almost metaphysical take on capitalism as a way of coping with the aftermath of this extreme mining, and as examples of the vibrant daily life that perseveres in this moon-scaped tropical paradise.

This summer, at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, I focused on Nauru, building a life-sized New England replica of a 4m x 4m x 4m slice of this island in rural Maine, as a platform for exploring possibilities for action on the pinnacles left from the mining, and attempting to deflower my own hangups around Nauru as an object or source.

I have collected a number of my old posts on Nauru from my own blog here for you, and look forward to using The Nauru Project as a venue for continuing to explore Nauru as a place, a people, a symbol, and a project.

Bumpkin Island Art Encampment


In collaboration with the Boston Harbor Island Alliance and Studio Soto, the third annual Bumpkin Island Art Encampment invites proposals to live and work in a temporary artist community in Boston's largest national park area.

Starting Thursday, July 30 and continuing through Monday, August 3, 2009, eight artists/artist groups will each be awarded one plot of prime, arable land in the middle of Boston Harbor.

As "homesteaders" for five days, they will:
Build some kind of "home" on the land,
Live on the land for five days, and
Improve the land via a site-specific temporary project, performance or installation.
Artists will:
Develop projects that respond to the environment, as defined in the broadest sense. Projects may reflect the island's natural resources and human history (see background below), the cultural context of homesteading, the concept of artist community, or other themes.
Use the resources/elements they find on the island. Rocks on the shore, fallen branches, shells, seaweed, washed-up debris, and invasive species are all fair game. As a starting point, artists may only bring the basic tools and supplies they themselves can physically carry on to the land, including everything they need to sleep and survive for five days. Everything found and used on the island must stay on the island at the end of the project. Installations that are not within the tent sites and which are made exclusively of found materials may remain intact.
Spend two days developing projects, two days meeting the public, and one day deinstalling and moving off the island. Artists are encouraged to interact with day visitors, other campers, boaters, etc. while creating projects.

Artists will receive:
A five day "land grant" with ferry transportation and campsite access
A $100 stipend to cover basic expenses, and a supply of shared drinking water
Support and critical feedback from project curators and rangers.

The Nauru Project, Performance for 'IRP Goes Live', Southwark Playhouse

A Performance based on an extract from 'Impressions of Africa' by Raymond Roussel
Performer: Sonja Byrne
Dramaturg: Francesca Manfrin

Visitor Presented with the 'Cup of Love & Welcome' on Nauru, 1916 & Fishdance Ritual

The traditional costume for the "dance of the fish".
After the dance, the fish are eaten.

'I.R.P. Goes Live' at Southwark Playhouse 'Secrets...'

To celebrate the release of the 10th issue, I.R.P., in conjunction with Southwark Playhouse Secrets..., will be hosting a night of performances, artistic interventions, and readings, with the new issue being produced live on the night.

Amanda Wasielewski
Catalina Niculescu
Carolina Vasquez and Bethan Marlow
Janne Malmros
Larry Achiampong
Laura Malacart
London Concrete
Malin Ståhl
Maria Georgoula
Martha King
Matthew Lee Knowles, with Neil Luck and Josh Kaye
Sarah West
Tom Wainwright
Tomas Tokle


I.R.P. goes LIVE
Saturday March 28th from about 9pm
Southwark Playhouse
Shipwright Yard
(Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.)

Impulsive Random Platform" or 'I.R.P' is a B & W A5 zine made by recent graduates from the Slade School of Fine Art, which acts as both an extension of its creators' individual studio practices, and an opportunity for invited artists of all disciplines to display and promote their work via an alternative outlet.

Nauru Stamps

Flying to Nauru

The Republic of Nauru is a 21-square-kilometer microstate in the Central Pacific Ocean midway between Guam and Fiji. For over 30 years, the Republic's flag carrier Air Nauru provided service to destinations all around the Pacific, including Hong Kong, Koror, Apia, Pago Pago, Noumea and Auckland. Air Nauru discontinued its Nauru, Pohnpei, Guam, Manila route in February 2001, and the service to Nadi, Fiji, was dropped in early 2006.
After a financial crisis in 2006, Air Nauru was rebranded as Our Airline, and in June 2006 Our Airline took delivery of a new Boeing 737-300 aircraft, purchased with financial support from the Government of Taiwan. After a refit for long overwater flights, the new plane entered service on September 17th, 2006with a twice weekly service from Brisbane to Honiara, Nauru, Tawara, and Majuro. On July 4th, 2007 the carrier's service to Majuro (Marshall Islands)was withdrawn for financial reasons. Tarawa (Republic of Kiribati)was also dropped soon after.
Our Airline currently operates its Boeing 737-300 aircraft on a routing from Brisbane (Australia) to Honiara (Solomon Islands) and Nauru (Nauru Island).Although Our Airline flies between Brisbane and Honiara, it only sells tickets to/from Nauru as Brisbane-Honiara is reserved for Solomon Airlines. The Our Airline aircraft also operates weekly from Brisbane ot Newman (Western Australia) and Gold Coast (Coolangatta). From Gold Coast, the plane continues to Norfolk Island. Airlines PNG uses the Our Airline plane to fly between Brisbane and Port Moresby three times a week.

Air Nauru

Nauru Airport

The Voice and Nothing More

Curated by Sam Belinfante and Neil Luck
Slade Research Centre
12 - 16 January 2009

the voice and nothing more (vanm) is a week-long festival exploring the voice as both medium and subject matter in contemporary arts practices. Both established and emerging artists will work with leading vocal performers and composers in an exploration of the voice outside language.

vanm is symptomatic of a growing interest in the voice across arts practices and will give leading practitioners the opportunity to work with some of the most important singers and vocal ensembles in the UK today. Importantly, vanm is the product of a desire to encourage conversations between the contemporary arts communities, conversations that will elucidate art’s complicated relationship with the voice as well as generate new processes and strategies for engaging with it. Instead of merely placing musicians and artists in one space, vanm facilitates an ongoing discourse in and around the voice with the production of new ambitious, collaborative, artworks as well as the formation of new working practices.

Artists and performers come together to generate exciting new collaborative works.
Invited performers include Mikhail Karikis, Lore Lixembourg and Juice, as well as a specially formed large-scale vocal ensemble.

Performers, working with the artists and resident composer Claudia Molitor, will create new score-objects culminating in a series of new performances. Artists Martin Creed, Simon Faithfull, Dryden Goodwin, Bruce Mclean and Cornelia Parker along with emerging artists Athanasios Argianas, Amy Cunningham, Nick Laessing, Phoebe Unwin and Sarah Kate Wilson are just some of the 50+ artists taking part.

To help launch the festival leading artist and educator Simon Morris will lecture on the voice ~

Wednesday 14 January from 12pm

The festival will culminate with a presentation of groundbreaking objects/installations/performances, open to the public ~

Thursday 15 and Friday 16 January from 6pm where performances will start from 7pm

Artists include;

Athanasios Argianas, Umi Baden-Powell, Sam Belinfante, Melis van den Berg, Fiona Bevan, Sarah Bowker-Jones, Martin John Callanan, Alejandro Cano Casso, Stella Capes, Patricia Chi, Elisabeth S. Clark, Joe Clark, Kitty Clark, Adam de la Cour, Martin Creed, Amy Cunningham, Edward Dorrian, Claire Dorsett, Nisha Duggal, Faith Edwards, Simon Faithfull, Kathryn Faulkner, Penny Florence,Maria Georgoula, Dryden Goodwin, Nick Hornby, Juice, Mikhail Karikis, Hyo Myoung Kim, Nick Laessing, Caroline de Lannoy, Matthew Le Knowles, Sasha Litvintseva, Lore Lixembourg, Leah Lovett, JT Lowen, Neil Luck, Allison Maletz, Janne Malmros,Revati Mann, Bruce Mclean, Claudia Molitor, Sally Morfill, Margarita Myrogianni, Catalina Niculescu, Kjartan Nilsen, Stephanie O’Connor, Benjamin Oliver, Junko Otake, Cornelia Parker, Jayne Parker, Louisa Parker, Bradley Phillip, Tessa Power,Dante Rendle Taylor, Mike Ryder, William Saunders, Kristin Sherman, Simson & Volley, Diana Taylor, Estelle Thompson, Phoebe Unwin, Caroline Vasquez, Sarah Kate Wilson and Jayne Wilton.

Slade Research Centre
University College London
10 - 11 Woburn Square

For all press enquiries please contact Sarah Wilson at info@sarahkatewilson.com

Paradise Island 'Caretaker'

Wanted: Paradise island 'Caretaker'

Tourism officials in Australia are describing it as "the best job in the world".They want someone to work on a tropical island off the Queensland coast.No formal qualifications are needed but candidates must be willing to swim, snorkel, dive and sail.
In return, the successful applicant will receive a salary of A$150,000 ($103,000, £70,000) for six months and get to live rent-free in a three-bedroom villa, complete with pool.

Feeding fish.
Anthony Hayes, Chief Executive, Tourism Queensland, said: "It doesn't sound too bad does it? We are looking for someone to tell the stories of the Great Barrier Reef and we have come up with what we think is the dream job."The post is being advertised as "caretaker" on Hamilton Island in Australia's Whitsunday Islands.The new recruit will work for just 12 hours a month. Duties include feeding some of the hundreds of species of fish and collecting the island's mail.They will also need to prepare a blog, a photo diary and video updates to attract tourists to the area."There are hundreds of islands scattered along the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Hayes told the BBC. "We are looking for someone who can go and explore all the different islands then report back to the world on what they see."We need a special person. They are going to be pretty busy having a good time."Hamilton Island, where the temperature is warm all year round, is the largest inhabited island in the region. It boasts blue skies, crystal water and pure sands.

Thousands of applications
About two million tourists visit the various islands each year, but most stay on the mainland and visit only on day trips.
The job is being advertised around the world. Candidates have until 22 February to submit an online video application.
In May, 10 shortlisted candidates and one wildcard, voted for by visitors to the Tourism Queensland website, will be invited to the islands for a four-day final interview process. The successful candidate will start the new job on 1 July. Mr Hayes says he is expecting thousands of applications: "I'm having to beat my staff off with a stick at the moment because most of them want to apply too."

World's largest coral reef system
1,600 miles long
2,900 individual reefs
400 species of coral
2,000+ different fish species
Source: BBC Science & Nature