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A Fine Old New Guinea Bioma Figure Papuan Gulf Area Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-2784
Size Height 67cm
New Guinea Oceanic Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian & Japan Scholars Art

A Fine Old New Guinea Bioma Figure Papuan Gulf Area Papua New Guinea

This beautifully carved Bioma Figure is from Era River area in the Papuan Gulf in Papua New Guinea.

In the past, the primary focus of religious and artistic life in this region was based on powerful spirits called Imunu.  Each clan had specific imunu Spirits that were associated with a specific location in the landscape, rivers, or sea, and was linked to the specific clan.

Papuan Gulf wood sculpture was primarily two-dimensional, consisting of board-like carvings, known as Gope or spirit boards and figures with designs in low relief, like this fine example.

Figures such as this one represented and served as a dwelling place for an individual imunu spirit.

Villages once had large communal men’s houses divided into cubicles, each allotted to a particular clan or sub-clan. Each cubicle contained a clan shrine, which housed the spirit boards, figures, human and animal skulls, and other sacred objects associated with the clan’s various imunu Spirits.

Susan Klomam from Christie’s Auction writes ”  In the landmark exhibition curated by William Rubin at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1984 – ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art. This exhibition inspired a generation of art lovers and collectors who might otherwise never have thought to consider African and Oceanic Art, which is amongst the greatest art ever created around the world and throughout the ages. When analysing Picasso’s work of the so-called Africanist period, there is an oversimplified explanation that he was drawn to the abstraction of African art, and that his interest was almost purely formalistic. However, we know that there was a supernatural component that drove him, and it is in that spirit that those artists of the last century until today who turned to African and Oceanic art reads like a constellation of modern of art history – e.g. Gauguin, Picasso, Matisse, Vlaminck, Giacometti, Modigliani, Kirchner, Brancusi, Leger, Klee, Ernst, Pollock, Moore, Epstein, Arman, Baselitz, Basquiat.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Papua New Guinea Art and Oceanic Arts.

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 in1996 (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 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all inquiries, please contact us.