These items are a snapshot into what people were using and wearing during sing-sings in the late 1940s—in the midst of colonial presence and before the island’s civil war with Papua New Guinea. Surrounding people with dances, the smell of food, and the sounds of music, sing-sings are a gathering of people to dance, eat, talk and share other traditions throughout islands in the Southwest Pacific. Bud Johnson collected a diversity of cultural items from across Bougainville Island. A good amount of these items were used in sing-sings before they were traded. Although fashion, practices, and materials change over time and are not exactly the same as when Johnson was in Bougainville, people continue to participate sing-sings today.

Sing-Sings: Then and Now

Below are photos of objects from the CU collection associated with sing-sings. Hover over the image with your mouse to learn more, click on them to enlarge! All objects date from pre A.D. 1949.