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A Fine Old New Guinea Canoe Ornament Humboldt Bay West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia


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Collection No. T-1045
Size 38cm x 50cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Fine Old New Guinea Canoe Ornament Humboldt Bay Area West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This beautiful old Canoe Ornament is from the Humboldt Bay area on the Northwest Coast of West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia. These Canoe Ornaments are like no other type of New Guinea Art, they use totemic animals like birds & fish but incorporate them together in very imaginative ways, sometimes they morph out of each other or stacked and joined in many amazing ways.

In the  1980’s I visited almost all of the villages up & down the coast, one day I went to the village of Demta which is a large village with about 50 canoes sitting on the beach,  each canoe had a Canoe Ornament on the front.  After spending part of the day there I asked some men ” Would you like to sell their canoe prow ornaments? ”  The answer was ” No we need them ”   I was perplexed but they then explained those canoe ornaments protected people when fishing from bad weather and other dangers and they helped to provide a successful fishing trip. So none of the ornaments on the canoes could be sold but they said they had old ones that were from parents’ or grandparents’ old ruined canoes. This was good news for me that I could buy some Canoe Ornaments after all & ones that didn’t have store paint on them.  This story was repeated up and down the coast to almost all the villages I visited.

Provenance: 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 honored 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 my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  showing the Museums and Art Galleries Exhibitions that I provided artworks for over the past 40 years. There is the link to the article about my artworks published in the prestigious Louvre Magazine in 1996

I have artwork for Museums and 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 specializes in New Guinea and Oceanic Art.  Sydney is very close to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbors.

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