Boldly patterned with graphic designs, the bark cloth that is made by Ömie women in the Oro province of Papua New Guinea expresses a great diversity of abstracted elements from the natural world. The painted cloths can relay creation stories or represent tattoo patterns that were once important to initiation ceremonies. The making of contemporary bark cloth in the Ömie territory is the exclusive creative and spiritual domain of 71 women artists. The cloth is crafted only by female chiefs and only within the community’s territory.
Support for this exhibition comes from The Christensen Fund
Aspesa Gadai, Odunaige (Climbing vine with thorns and tendrils) 2006. Jiapa village, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea. Natural pigments nioge(barkcloth). 176.0 x 76.0 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased NGV Foundation, 2008 (2008.73). © The artist, courtesy Ömie Nemiss Incorporated