Dr. Karen Jacobs

Dr. Karen Jacobs is Senior Lecturer at the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, University of East Anglia. She has worked on various international research projects, focusing on the Kamoro region in West Papua, on Polynesian Visual Arts, the Arts of Fiji, and material heritage of British missions in Africa and the Pacific.

Her research resulted in a range of exhibitions and publications. Exhibition projects include Pacific Encounters: Art and Divinity in Polynesia 1760-1860 (Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 2006; Paris Museé du quai Branly- Jacques Chirac, 2008), Art and the Body (Fiji Museum, 2014) and Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific (Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 2016-17).

Book projects include Collecting Kamoro (Jacobs 2012) and Trophies, Relics and Curios? Missionary Heritage from Africa and the Pacific (Jacobs, Knowles & Wingfield 2015).


Books by Karen Jacobs

This is not a grass skirt

On fibre skirts (liku) and female tattooing (veiqia) in nineteenth century Fiji

Karen Jacobs | 2019

The Pacific ‘grass skirt’ has provoked debates about the demeaning and sexualised depiction of Pacific bodies. While these stereotypical portrayals associated with ‘nakedness’ are challenged in this book, the complex uses and meanings of the…




Trophies, Relics and Curios?

Missionary Heritage from Africa and the Pacific

Edited by Karen Jacobs, Chantal Knowles and Chris Wingfield | 2015

The British Missionary movement, which began in earnest in the early 19th century, was one of the most extraordinary movements of the last two centuries, radically transforming the lives of people in large parts of…




Collecting Kamoro

Objects, encounters and representation on the southwest coast of Papua

Karen Jacobs | 2012

The story of ethnographic collecting is one of cross-cultural encounters. This book focuses on collecting encounters in the Kamoro region of Papua from the earliest collections made in 1828 until 2011. Exploring the links between…










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