Ömie women’s bark cloth art of Papua New Guinea was completely unknown to the outside world until it was first exhibited in 2006, but has quickly become one of the most exciting contemporary art movements in the Pacific region.
Ömie Artists are now celebrated internationally for their visually arresting and highly sophisticated designs that transport us to their mysterious and lush rainforest world. This exhibition brings together an exquisite body of bark cloth artworks created in the remote mountain villages of the Oro Province of Huvaimo.
This collection of works showcase the extraordinary diversity and living vitality of Ömie art through a stunning collection of nioge (bark cloth) dorned with dazzling geometries and finely executed motifs loaded with tribal and clan-specific cultural knowledge. Each artwork is saturated in an organic, abstract symbolism that could only have sprung from a people intimately in tune to the natural environment where they live – a landscape criss-crossed with sites of great spiritual significance and inhabited by the spirits of ancestors.
These paintings on barkcloth, also known as ‘tapa’, are the customary textile of the Ömie, which have been painted in freehand with a rich and earthy palette of natural pigments and dyes. It is this precious lineage that ensures the survival of this art form into the future.
Ömie Artists Inc. works exclusively with women barkcloth artists in line with jagor’e (customary law), in order to sustain the Omie’s cultural and artistic heritage. These extraordinary barkcloth paintings stand as a testament to the strength and endurance of the Ömie’s ancient, yet living, traditions.