Title: Kundu Drum.
Artist: Vuetasau Buatoka.
Description: Acrylic on canvas. Painting depicts the West Papua Kundu drums beating the sound of freedom!
-In loving memory of our Wan-Soul-Warrior- Vuetasau Buatoka Junior 1982 – 2018 (Kabara, Lau/Nairai, Lomaiviti – Fiji Islands) The Kundu drum was Vue’s public declaration; his personal manifesto for living a life wholly committed to the West Papuan struggle for independence. As a Youngsolwaran, the Kundu as metaphor, was Vue’s bold and unequivocal call to action. The voices of the ancestor’s hovering in three dimensional space and time; provocative and inspirational, in his role as President for the Tikina Kabara Youth or member of the Lau Provincial Youth Council (2015) or chair of village sub-committees addressing issues of climate change (2016); the Kundu drum resonates because Kabara Lauans are themselves renowned artisans, spiraling four-dimensional harmony through kinship and singsing(/sigidrigi) echoing harmonically through hardened wood, centered precisely and blackened internally with charcoal. As an indigenous, a i-taukei, the black marker pen at geometric intervals outlines the entire painting, referencing cubism and Pablo Picasso’s ‘finger up to the establishment,’ activists whose art captures the atrocities and inhumanity of war, Vue’s Kundu drum was not created for the art market, to be framed and placed behind Perspex glass cases, but as canvas to be rolled up and out, as banners held high, in the hot sun or pouring rain as symbol of resistance. Marched along streets, in public spaces, no matter the hour, this hourglass shaped object with snake/lizard membrane the sound must reverberate across our Ocean. And Vue did just that, through his experience with the Melanesian Indigenous Land Defense Alliance (MILDA) who he met on the Island of Ysabel in the Solomon’s, (2016) and the Youngsolwaran Youth Movement as founding member in Madang, Papua New Guinea (2014).