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A Superb Old New Guinea Abelam Spirit Figure East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-1849
Size Height: 148cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian & Japan Scholars Art

A Superb Old New Guinea Abelam Ngwallndu Spirit Figure, Sepik Plains  East Sepik Papua New Guinea

This Monumental Abelam Spirit Figure is one of the finest Abelam Sculptures I have ever seen.

These large sculptures, mainly depict the all-powerful ngwallndu spirits and in this case, a birdman-form spirit figure.

Abelam spirit houses are as distinctive as their art. From the air, they are said to represent a bird resting on the ground because the Abelam believe their founding ancestor was a bird. They are tall A-frame buildings (up to 80 feet /24 meters high)  with sweeping wings and a sharp drop from the front to the back, or from the head to the tail of the bird.

When seen by the initiates for the first time inside the sacred men’s house the Spirit Figures should shimmer with spiritual energy, the ochre painting on the figures is a very important part of Abelam’s Art.  This is the original ochre paintwork when it was collected in the village setting in the 1960s.  The Bird Man figure with an extended belly and head is surmounted by an ancestor figure laying horizontally & on the opposite side of an ancestor’s head, there are other totemic animals present in this sculpture; a bird, and a snake.

Provence: Collected in the 1960s by Dr Fred Gerrits.

Gerrits was born in 1933 in Bandung, in Indonesia. After graduating with a degree in medicine in Holland, he settled in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s, where he met his future wife Nel. As of 1964, the Gerrits worked in various hospitals in New Guinea until Fred was appointed as the Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Officer for the provinces of West and East Sepik, with a base in Maprik at the foot of the Prince Alexander Mountains. Gerrits collection is featured in major museum collections around the world.

Provence: The Todd Barlin Collection of  New Guinea Oceanic Art

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honoured by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in 1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery.  I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com  where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours.


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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