'Ömie Artists: Rweromo garé niogehu mamabahe ajivé (Come and see the beauty and brightness of our barkcloths)'
July 2 - 25, 2010
Chapman Gallery, Canberra, Australia
Ömie Artists is a cooperative of Ömie tribeswomen barkcloth painters, and is situated in the majestic Ömie mountains of Oro Province in Papua New Guinea. Ömie barkcloths are worn proudly by men, women and children during traditional ceremonies which can involve feasting and spectacular performances of singing, dancing and kundu-drumming. Nioge (barkcloth worn by women) are now also produced by Ömie Artists for gallery exhibitions. The women produce the barkcloth by beating the inner bark of trees, and the coloured paints are prepared using fruits, ferns, leaves and ash. Traditional Ömie culture as well as Ömie territory's lush rainforests, wild rivers and sacred, ancestral sites such as Dahore Huvaemo (Mount Lamington) and Dahore Obo (Mount Obo) provide a plethora of subjects from which the artists continue to draw inspiration for their painting designs.
Ömie Artists is fully owned and governed by Ömie people. Five established art centres service artists across ten villages and each of the centres play a vital role in the villages by ensuring that Ömie art and culture remains strong and by providing economic returns to their artists. Ömie Artists works in close consultation with clan duvahe (chiefs) and elders to ensure that traditional Ömie law and custom is upheld in the administration of art production and distribution.
Ömie Artists gratefully acknowledges the pioneering work of Andrew Naumo and David Baker in its establishment.
Text: Brennan King 2010 © Copyright Ömie Artists. All rights reserved.