Artists Prepare for Art Exhibition

The Port Moresby Arts Theatre, will host the 2021 Art Exhibition and Prize, displaying the best entries in a gallery setting and online.

More than fifty PNG artists from across the country are expected to participate in the event from 6th-8th August at the MAT. So far 40 entries had been received for the competition.

The exhibition will include prizes for best painting and sculpture, as well as best woman artist and best young artist with lucky door prizes for all who buy the arts.

The exhibition comes at a time when artists are struggling. The lack of tourists, due to COVID19 travel restrictions, has limited the opportunities to sell their works. This exhibition will give artists and buyers the chance to come together.  Artists will create works on the theme of “Movement, Complexity, and Disruption”.

Nanias Maira is an artist who promotes his Kowma culture from the Ambunti District of East Sepik Province. He has been practicing art since he was nine years old. He sculpted birds and other creatures using clay from the river bank in his village. He had help from his grandfather in drying the clay sculptures. When he was lucky, tourists would buy his artwork when they visited his village. This inspired him to pursue his art talent.

“My grandfather and my father helped me with a stronger clay which is used for making clay pot so my models were a bit stronger. Then later I started to paint my models,” Maira explained.

Maira has been living in Port Moresby since 2014 and has done well with learning to paint using acrylic paint and selling his work. However, with the difficulty of COVID-19, his work has suffered and he wants to return home.

Maira has a dream to set up his own Art Studio in Wewak, perhaps on Kreer Heights where he currently has a home, and where he can take advantage of the soon to be established the ‘Somare Museum’. His vision is to teach young people from his tribe how to do art using their own local culture and tradition. He had started with his own children. He will be displaying his eldest son’s the artwork.

Jane Wena has been an artist for as long as she can remember. It is a family talent and a lifestyle activity. Art has taken her to exhibitions in Germany and Brunei as well.

“I was painting and selling as SME until COVID-19 came and spoiled our lives altogether. So many of us rely and depend more on our arts and crafts sales. But when there was a lockdown, they stopped the public from moving around and so many of us artists were in a difficult situation,” Wena lamented.

In view of the effect of COVID-19, the art that Wena wants to display is one of the current situation showing the terror caused by the COVID-19 virus and the careless attitude by the public towards the risk posed by the virus.

Anthony Mason, a member of the MAT, is also a painter and artist, and explains that the event was planned as a breather for the artists from the COVID-19 pandemic suffocating their market.

“So the opening night is on the 6th of August and you can either buy the tickets online or at the Waterfront. The opening night will be quite an event so we’ll have some music here. On Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th, the exhibition will also be open,” Mason said.

The prizes will vary as there are renowned and experienced artists who have their art work already in galleries. There are also the younger ones who are only starting out.

Each individual can enter one painting or one sculpture or both, and they are expected to have between 50 and 60 art work displayed throughout the three-day event.

Frieda Kana