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Kupiainen, Jari

Jari Kupiainen is a Finnish anthropologist who has a PhD from the University of Joensuu. In the 1990s he studied woodcarving on the islands of Gatokae (in Western Province) and Bellona (in RenBel Province). Later he has produced documentary films about cultural heritage and distance learning centres in the Western Solomons. He now works in the Programme in Media and Communications at the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

North Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Anthropology, visual studies, material culture: Gatokae

Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details

Dr. Jari Kupiainen
Principal Lecturer (& adjunct professor at the University of Joensuu)
North Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Programme in Media and Communications
Länsikatu 15, 80110 Joensuu
Tel. +358 13 2606485
Fax +358 13 2606991
Mobile +358 50 4323989



My research experience in the Western Solomon Islands relates mainly to Gatokae Island and the southern Marovo Lagoon, and to the Marovo community in Honiara. I have done anthropological field studies in these areas in 1992-93, 1996, 1998 and 2007. I have stayed on Gatokae Island altogether some 2,5 months during these different periods. I have also studied systematically the Gatokae / Marovo / New Georgia artefact collections in the Solomon Islands National Museum, and I have systematic records of these collections (of which some artefacts were stolen from the museum in 2003). I have an extensive collection of interviews and visual materials related to Gatokae and Marovo. My doctoral dissertation, Tradition, Trade and Woodcarving in Solomon Islands (2000) is a detailed study of Gatokae / Marovo / Honiara / Bellona woodcarving traditions and practice, and it contains specific data about Gatokae traditions and history. Most recently, in Autumn 2007, I spent three months in the Solomon Islands with my student (Jukka Salo) documenting on video aspects of Gatokae / Marovo traditions and arts (wood and stone carving, weaving, other arts), developments in communications and computer technology (PFNet, DLCs, OLPC projects), and the Solomon Islands National Museum. These materials will be developed into documentaries and other publications to be used, in part, as educational materials in the Solomon Islands. As for languages, my Pijin is fluent and developed, and I have basic knowledge of Marovo language.

Key publications/reports/materials

KUPIAINEN, JARI 1997: “Art, Culture Change, and the Study of Solomon Islands Woodcarving”. Dialogue and Universalism. Special Issue, ed. Sonja Servomaa. 7:3-4. 161-170.

KUPIAINEN, JARI 1997: “The Colonial Transformation of Woodcarving in Bellona and Gatokae in the Solomon Islands”. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society. 22:1. 18-30.

KUPIAINEN, JARI 1999: “Kastom, Authenticity and Woodcarving in the Solomon Islands”. In Jopi Nyman and John A. Stotesbury ed.: Postcolonialism and Cultural Resistance. Studia Carelica Humanistica 14. University of Joensuu. Joensuu. 123-129.

KUPIAINEN, JARI 1999: “Toto isus, Charms and Photos: Visual Ethnography on Gatokae, Western Solomon Islands”. SIGHTS – Visual Anthropology Forum. http://cc.joensuu.fi/sights/jari.htm. Publication date 31.5.1999.

KUPIAINEN, JARI 2000: Tradition, Trade and Woodcarving in Solomon Islands. Transactions of the Finnish Anthropological Society 45 (including a cd-rom). The Finnish Anthropological Society and the Intervention Press. Helsinki, Finland and Höjbjerg, Denmark.

KUPIAINEN, JARI 2001: Melanesian Encounters - Rencontre mélanésienne. Photographic Exhibition. The UNESCO Building, UNESCO and CNRS Conference “Indigenous Identities: Oral, Written Expressions and New Technologies”. Paris, France. 15.-18.5.2001 (40 photos).

KUPIAINEN, JARI 2006: “Translocalisation Over the Net: Digitalisation, Information Technology and Local Cultures in Melanesia”. E-Learning. Vol.3, No.3. 2006. 279-290. http://www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/content/pdfs/3/issue3_3.asp.
Published also: http://www.peoplefirst.net.sb/research/

Other publications (texts, documentary videos etc.) are in preparation.


Western Solomons
Updated 12 January, 2011