Lisa Hilli


"Linguistic Resistance & Remembering: People in the contact zones of German New Guinea"
In a Roman Catholic Mission called Vunapope (place of the pope) a group of interracial children born out of German colonialism in Rabaul Papua New Guinea were raised without their parents and forced to learn the German language. This remarkable group of children bonded through a linguistic resistance and developed the only creole German language which has less than 100 speakers today. In the year 2022, a group of Papua New Guinean men, women and children danced and sang a song in Brisbane, Australia to honour a historical Tolai man called ToPulu, to remember his legacy as a key link between early Europeans and Tolai people and the indigenisation of Western religion.

Lisa Hilli creates and curates' exhibitions that shift narratives and art histories with a Melanesian feminine lens. She has specialist knowledge of lens-based practices, the language of textiles and interpretation of museum collections. Lisa’s recent projects include commissioned artwork Keep Your Bush Knife Sharp!#BrukimBus for the re-opening of the House of World Cultures in Berlin 2023, and MADAPAI for Museum Ostwall in the Dortmunder U 2023. As International Fellow at the German Maritime Museum in 2021 she researched the movement of Melanesian bodies on German ships during the German New Guinea colonial era. Her work will be on display as part of the exhibition Points of View: Artistic and Scientific Perspectives of German Colonial History in the Western Pacific at the Harbour Museum Bremen in cooperation with the German Maritime Museum. An Australian National University student, Lisa’s practice led PhD project is focused on the visual representation and authorship of Papua Niuginian women through photography and filmmaking. More information on