Myths + Magic: Art of the Sepik River @ rhe NGAShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
The official opening of the Australian National Gallery’s Myth + Magic, Art of the Sepik River is not so much a float down the river as an immersion in the art and artefacts of the villagers and the villages of an immense area that we really don’t know enough about.
And as it’s incumbent upon the Director of the NGA to spruik the catalogue of the current exhibition, Gerard Vaughan did that with aplomb, and I’ll happily endorse his effort as it’s a wonderful collection of photographs from early last century as well as a catalogue of the exhibition display. Among the photographs the most beautiful initiation body art of the ‘trapunto’ needlework kind. That’s for sewers the stuffing of small pockets between two fabric pieces to create a pattern. To explain the technique we had a rip off his shirt moment from the Director, PNG National Museum and Art Gallery Dr Andrew Moutu, happy to show us his crocodile pattered shoulder and back, and set a new benchmark for gallery directors.
Having lived in PNG and collected all manner of artefacts, to experience this exhibition is to again delve into the history and the unique art of the Sepik.To have an opportunity to see so many precious artefacts, most collected last century, and gain an insight into the culture, ceremonial and traditional aspects of life on and around the Sepik, is a chance to work together to preserve and protect this history.
Initiation body art unlikely to be on trend in the near future.