Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts (29 September – 10 December 2018) was a landmark exhibition celebrating the dazzling and diverse art of this region, which covers a third of the world’s surface. In showing historic treasures alongside works by contemporary artists, the exhibition made connections between the past and the present and across cultures.
Sharing those stories with a truly global audience was one of the exhibition’s key goals – and one that our digital channels actually had a much greater potential to achieve than the physical exhibition. We set out to create a range of multimedia content, both on the RA’s website and across our social media channels, that not only explored the exhibition’s themes but brought them alive – inviting the audience to be right there, in front of a blessing ceremony, or joining us inside the galleries. We worked closely with the curators, plus visiting artists from the region, people with ancestral connections to the exhibition’s historic treasures and UK-based artists of Māori and Pacific Island descent, giving them a platform to share their stories.
Beginning with video of the opening blessing, starting with a dawn procession through central London, we went on to produce a live tour of the exhibition that was streamed simultaneously on Facebook and YouTube and featured special musical performances in the galleries. This was followed by a mini-documentary on the art of tattooing in Oceania – using a social media-first format, that saw it shared 1,500 times – and then a series of videos featuring individual artists and works in the exhibition.
With over a quarter of a million views and thousands of likes, comments and shares on social media, our online multimedia content achieved our goal to extend the reach of the exhibition far beyond the walls of the Royal Academy.