Altogether: Contemporary Papua New Guinea Art

June 29-Sept. 5, 2008

East-West Center Gallery, Honolulu

Opening reception: Sunday, June 29, 2 p.m.

Papua New Guinea’s independence from Australia in 1975 marked the explosion of a contemporary art movement through which artists explored the visual interpretation of nationalism in this new country of more than 6 million people, which occupies the eastern half of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world. Artists began to conceptualize a new national identity through their art, illustrating what it meant to be a Papua New Guinean as opposed to a clan member. In this supportive political and intellectual climate, indigenous writers, sympathetic expatriate academics and leading Papua New Guineans encouraged the development of contemporary visual arts.

Guest-curated by Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris, Ph.D., director of the Center of Human Origin and Cultural Diversity at the University of Missouri, the “Altogether” exhibition is organized into three chronological sections: The Early Masters, 1969-1974; The Centre for Creative Arts/National Art School Artists, 1972-1979; and New Art Forms/New Artists, 1990-2007. In addition, customary utilitarian and ceremonial art provides cultural context and illustrates the intangible spiritual link of the contemporary to the past.

The artists featured in the exhibition are: Timothy Akis, Jakupa Ako, Wendi Choulai, Ruki Fame, Elisabet Kauage, Mathias Kauage, Gickmai Kundun, Watu Lopo, Benny Moore, Joe Nalo, Simon Novek, Larry Santana, Taba Silau, Albert Susuve, Waki Waikali, Jane Wena, Manfred W’keng, and Cecil King Wungi.

For more detailed information on the themes and approaches of the individual artists, click here to download a pdf brochure.

About Papua New Guinea
Located just north of Australia, the independent country of Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupies the eastern half of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world. This land mass and the multiple adjacent islands are home to over six million people. The country hosts the most linguistically diverse population in the world, with over 700 indigenous languages being spoken. PNG’s geography features a wide variety of environments from vast river systems, swamps, grasslands, and mountainous areas, to volcanic islands and tropical rain forests, all of which contribute to the physical and cultural isolation of the people, which has resulted in a wide variety of art styles

Special Events:
All in the EWC Gallery; admission free

Sunday, June 29, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Opening festivities, including reception and
exhibition walk-through with guest curator
Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris, Ph.D.

Sunday, July 13, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
“The Drum and the Mask: Time of the
Tembuan” documentary film with introduction
by the filmmaker Carolyn Yacoe

Sunday, August 24, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
“The Art of Early Times: Traditional Arts
in PNG” Illustrated talk by Jerome Feldman,
Ph.D., Professor of Art History at Hawai‘i Pacific University

Gallery info:
East-West Center Gallery
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)
Gallery hours: Weekdays: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sundays Noon-4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays and holidays

For further information: 944-7584

The East-West Center is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.

For 25 years the EWC Arts Program has enriched the community through concerts, lectures, symposia, and exhibitions focusing on traditional arts of the region, and by arranged cultural and educational tours by artists who are skilled in bridging cultures.