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Mario Amahiro Tuki Villanueva

Rapa Nui Museum (MAPSE)

Collections Manager

Country: Rapa Nui (Chile)

ITP Year: 2021


Mario is of Rapa Nui descent from Easter Island and works as collections manager of the local museum.

Mario is interested in the protection, education and development of the culture of his community – in terms of the conjunction of ancient traditions, beliefs and practices that the Rapa Nui descendants call “the living culture”. Alongside this, raising awareness of current and future care of Rapa Nui tangible and non-tangible heritage is an important focus for Mario, looking for practical solutions to all kinds of challenges linked to the transference of traditional knowledge to new generations; how do we understand that process and provide the community with tools to carry out such a great and meaningful task?

Developing opportunities and tools for indigenous and native communities and younger generations, to lead their own path to develop and sustain their culture in their own terms, is a personal and professional interest which Mario believes will develop from education and a wider understanding of living culture.

As an indigenous artist, the arts and particularly music, are a strong personal interest of Mario’s. He is a renowned singer and songwriter in his homeland, leading and managing his own contemporary music group called Amahiro. He is currently acting as a key figure in the promotion and development of the Rapa Nui Music Scene.

At the British Museum

During his time on the International Training Programme, Mario was based in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas and his partner placement was spent at Glasgow Museums.

In 2021 participants were asked to plan and propose a temporary exhibition on the theme of journeys, drawing on their existing museum experience and the skills learnt during the programme.  Mario worked with Haneen Mukho (Palestine) and Osaru Obaseki (Nigeria) on his Object in focus project. Their exhibition proposal was titled Deciphering the Ba-Bird.

Mario extended his stay in Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas after the ITP to work with colleagues on the British Museum’s collections.

Mario’s place on the ITP was generously supported by the Aall Foundation.

Continued Dialogue

Mario is now part of the Reimagining the British Museum International Working Group (IWG) which has invited international museum and cultural heritage experts to collaborate with the Museum and support the development of outline briefs for new suites of permanent galleries at the British Museum through online monthly meetings and workshops in London.