A Quick Look At Indigenous Identity in Art

8:31 pm

Just a very quick brain dump ...

The other day I was enjoying 'No. 1 Neighbour: Art in Papua New Guinea 1966-2016' before it came to a close. One work that I absolutely loved for its bright colours and bold lines was this one:


Why didn't I just refer to to by name? Because it's very long and has both native and English translations. To make sure that I give all the right info, the full label for the work is:

John Siune, Papua New Guinea 1965–2016, Kuman people, Chimbu Province / Boi pren na girl Pren Tupela i stap long Port Morsbi city. Tupela lusim pasin bilong ples na kisim pasin bilong wait man (Boyfriend and girlfriend live in Port Moresby City. They leave traditional ways behind and take on whiteman style) 1999 / Synthetic polymer paint on canvas / Collection: Helen and Paul Dennett / © Estate of the artist.

As soon as I saw it, I couldn't help but draw a parallel to a photograph by Fiona Foley in her 'Native Blood' body of work:


Isn't it interesting to see two artists, from different countries and different customs, both discussing the impact of white settlers on the identity of native people? The juxtaposition between the traditional and Western dress really is effective, so I totally understand the decision made by Siune and Foley.

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