Imagining Papua New Guinea

8 October 2005 – 12 March 2006

view Imagining Papua New Guinea website

Mathias Kauage 'not titled [multi-coloured abstract mask]' 1969 felt tipped pen, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia

Mathias Kauage 'not titled [multi-coloured abstract mask]' 1969 felt tipped pen, Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
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Imagining Papua New Guinea, an exhibition that celebrates Papua New Guinea’s anniversary of independence and explores its rich history of printmaking and drawing, opens at the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday 8 October 2005.

The exhibition coincides with the release of Director Ron Radford’s vision for the Gallery. Mr Radford said that the Gallery will focus on expanding and strengthening collecting areas of South East Asian, Pacific and Oceanic art.

 ‘Contemporary works from Australia’s nearest neighbour continue to make up one of the Gallery’s most important collecting areas’, said Mr Radford. ‘Imagining Papua New Guinea provides access to works of art from one of our nearest neighbours. It really is an exhibition which everyone can enjoy and also includes fun and educational activities for children to complement the works.’

Imagining Papua New Guinea showcases thirty-five works from the Gallery’s rich holdings of Papua New Guinea prints and drawings, including works from the Ulli Beier Collection, purchased in February 2005. Four important artists are featured: Timothy Akis, Mathias Kauage, John Man and Martin Morububuna.

The exhibition provides a window on the experiences of the people of Papua New Guinea and the remarkable journey they have embarked upon since 1975. It begins with the transition from a tribal-based society to a country of western influence, exploring the relationship to traditional practices of body art and patternmaking.

Introduced in the late 1960s, creative arts were offered to artists and students predominantly through technical colleges and vocational courses. Creative practice gained momentum through the 1960s and was at its most intensive during the 1970s. In 1972 the Creative Arts Centre was established by Ulli Beier and became the National Arts School in 1976, as part of a variety of national cultural initiatives associated with the declaration of independence on 16 September 1975.

Imagining Papua New Guinea has been curated by Roger Butler, Senior Curator of Australian Prints and Drawings and is on view at the National Gallery of Australia from 8 October 2005 to 12 March 2006, admission is free.

For further information please contact
Alix Fiveash, Marketing and Communications
Todd Hayward, Marketing & Communications
phone +61 2 6240 6700