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No 1 Neighbour PNG at QAGOMA

Home > Brisbane > Art and Craft Centres | Exhibitions
by Marina Marangos (subscribe)
http://www.mezzemoments.blogspot.com
Event: -
Check out this art work
This past weekend saw the opening of an exciting new exhibition in the Queensland Gallery of Art.

The painted columns
The painted columns

It is entitled No I Neighbour and it refers to Papua New Guinea, a country which is probably the closest of Australia's neighbours and with which Australia has had a close and supportive relationship for years.

One of the crocodiles
One of the crocodiles


A woven crocodile
A woven crocodile


Papua New Guinea, which is just off the coast of Australia, was annexed by the Germans in 1884 and they ruled over the northern part. The British administered the southern part of the island. In 1906 Australia took over its administration and Papua New Guinea proceeded to full independence in 1975. PNG as it is often called has had some challenging times but the country holds a lot of fond memories for a number of Australians who lived and worked there. It is of course a hugely rich conglomeration of clans with amazing cultural and linguistic traditions which the Papuans have guarded keenly. It is reported that there are some 700 languages on the island.

This exhibition has collected art works which represent the period from 1966 to 2016 - and there is so much to see from the traditional bilum (string bags), nioge (barkcloth), koromb (spirit houses), sculpture, photography, printmaking and painting, as well as the importance of performance and festivals.

I was particularly taken with the pots created by a talented Papuan woman who was there on the day of the opening to talk about her work.



Mary's pots
Mary's pots


Mary's pots
Mary's pots

The bark cloths and bilums all form part of a rich tradition of weaving and basket work.

The decorated bark cloths
The decorated bark cloths


A woven dress
A woven dress


The exhibition is divided into sections which all refer to the art work on display and the importance it holds in Papuan culture over the years.

Strength of Custom - with its elaborately painted spirit house and columns represents a very important area where communities and clans get together to perform their ceremonies and rites. Seven artists from 5 different clan groups came to Brisbane to create the most impressive spirit house which is on display telling creation and clan stories in its representations.

Sing - sing explores the importance of performance in art work and how it related to the early period of Australian trusteeship.

Stories and story telling are translated by artists into work which depict historical events and which way tensions suggest the tussle between rural life and the manner in which town has affected it.

Depicting historical events
Depicting historical events


Strong women feature in this exhibition and they performed wearing traditional bulimia dresses.

Women wearing traditional dress
Women wearing traditional dress


The point made by the curator was that a lot of the work women did was quite ephemeral and therefore lost to posterity so making sure they were properly respresented become an important part of the team setting out to collect the art work.

Making men refers to the many changes involved in imitation ceremonies which are such an important part of growing up in a Papuan clan. The art work on display suggests a redefinition on the way these ceremonies are perceived.

One of the masks
One of the masks

The exhibition is on between the 17th of October and the 29th of January 2017.

Between the 17th of October and the 30th of November 2016 at 11 am at QAG there are free volunteer tours conducted on the exhibition which are definitely worth going to.

Visit the website here.

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Why? Excellent exhibition of PNG art.
When: On now until the 29th of Jan 2017.
Phone: 3840 7303
Where: Queensland Gallery of Art
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