Em Meri Tasol (Just Women): Making and Marketing the Contemporary Art of Women Artists from Papua New Guinea
As an anthropologist and an artist I have worked with a group of woman artists in Papua New Guinea and have organised three major exhibitions for contemporary art in the capital Port Moresby during the years 1998 to 2000. The country is famous for its many diverse cultures and their mani¬fold traditional artistic expressions, styles, decorations and patterns of presentation but hardly known for its contemporary visual art. The coeval art work does not get the recognition it deserves in its place of origin nor is it acknowledged in the Western art scene. The reasons for the exclusions may differ, but the effect is the same: It is difficult to exhibit Papua New Guinean artists in their home place and in Germany or any other European country outside a museum of social anthropology. Based on my experience at different levels of art production, art distribution and curating I want to discuss:
1. What problems do PNG artists face by creating modern art for two audiences - one at home and one abroad?
2. What obstacles stand in the way of recognition and appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of modern PNG art by German art professionals and the general public?
3. What is necessary to deepen and broaden the acceptance of such modern art in PNG and in countries such as Germany?
A description of my work in PNG will be followed by a documentation and analysis of the more than 20 exhibitions I curated in Germany (mainly in community or church buildings) which leads to some thoughts about today's position of Third World Art in the international art market and art scene. Furthermore I want to discuss the need of more visual training and education to understand modern contemporary art form far away.
Keywords: Identity, Recognition, Appreciation, Acceptance, Exclusion
Part Time Teacher, ASAO