Rare Exhibit Features Artwork Inspired by ‘The First Woman’

Lila Warrimo and Didmus Bojugo with Joan Winter in Sidoraje, village of Savodibehi.

For the first time, a rare exhibition celebrating this ancient tradition and the work of the Omie people is presented at the Caloundra Regional Gallery, offering a visual and textual journey of this culturally rich artistic community.

Omie Tapa Cloth, from Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, is beaten bark cloth, which is painted or appliquéd. This tapa is recognized as the most spectacular, colorful and varied traditional tapa in the Pacific region.

Sihot’e Nioge: When skirts become works of art is presented until December 4 and offers a range of public workshops (reservation essential) to enhance this cultural journey.

Sihot’e Nioge, is curated by Joan Winter, Baboa Gallery, who makes regular visits to work with the Omie in their remote rainforest territory.

Together, Winter and the Omies initiated this first traveling exhibition, a masterful achievement for such a distant group of artists.

“There are about 2,000 Omies, who are a distinct cultural group with their own language,” Ms Winter said.

“They live in seven main villages and many other hamlets on the slopes of Mounts Lamington (Humeavo) and Obo, the mountainous region near Kokoda, and the site of their creation story.

“In this story, the first man Mina asked the first woman Saja, to go down to the river, to find the right tree, to remove its bark, to strike it on the stones of the river, to dip it in the mud and then handing it over to her, thus sanctifying the first marriage with the first Omie ritual, and the beginning of Omie culture and society

“The origin story of the Omie people confirms the status of tapa as sacred and central to their culture and their two traditional styles of tapa, nioge and sihot’e, are featured in this exhibit.”

Advisor Baberowski from the Sunshine Coast Council Arts Portfolio said the exhibition was a very well curated insight into a specific Papua New Guinean community that uses important expressions of their cultural traditions as well as aspects of their history. natural and social in these contemporary works of art.

“The exhibit is a stunning example of diverse cultural elements expressed in dramatic symbolic representations and motifs; the skills and techniques have been developed over generations to powerfully understand and utilize the constraints of available natural materials,” said Cr Baberowski.

“I encourage everyone to visit this rare exhibition to experience this breathtaking and dramatic journey into the visual arts and the important social enterprise program of a community within Australia’s important near neighbour.”

For details of the exhibition, go to gallery.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Exhibitions/Sihote-Nioge

James C. Tibbs