A footstep into New Guinea

When I returned to Brisbane’s GOMA modern art gallery a year later, every display was different. Most impressive to me were the New Guinea Asmat weavers. The weavers secretly created masks using ornaments to link their sculptures to a deceased person.

Alag masks, GOMA
Alag masks, GOMA Modern Art Gallery, Brisbane

One wall was dedicated to head pieces. Ceremonial dhoeri were made from cane, bamboo, string with natural pigments, shells, seeds, bees wax as well as feathers from eagles, cassowary and heron.

Ceremonial dhoeri, GOMA
Ceremonial doer, GOMA

Rose Ware’s textile print depicted the many shipwrecks that occurred in the Torres Straight’s treacherous waters. Desperate seamen were lured by warriors who then beheaded them.

Rosie Ware — Shipwrecks, GOMA
Shipwrecks by Rose Ware, GOMA

2 thoughts on “A footstep into New Guinea”

  1. I love Asmat wood carving. There’s even an enlarged version of it just outside one of the terminals at Jakarta’s main international airport (I think it’s Terminal 2).

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