West Papua New Guinea

Local Daylesford residents Sarah & Robert Hewat present their collection of West Papua New Guinea Art in the magnificent Convent Gallery.

The exhibition has been developed from a Private collection acquired over the past two decades through Sarah & Rob’s passion for art as well as their drive to begin “The West Papuan Art Project”. This inspirational mission will help produce and sell high quality contemporary West Papuan art using the principles of fair trade and where profits are reinvested into community-led development projects. In contrast to other models of trade in art, this project will act not a middleman but a facilitating link between artists and markets.  By offering premium prices for West Papuan art and redirecting profits back into Papuan communities, the WPAP aims to distribute resources equitably and support Papuan livelihoods and culture.

The exhibition will display a range of mediums and styles of ‘primitive’ art from West Papua New Guinea.

Rob’s travels throughout West Papua and much of PNG have enabled him to buy or commission a stunning range of contemporary and antique art pieces.  Some of Robert’s visits have stimulated a revival of dying art traditions, as individuals with an artistic impulse are inspired by conversations, archived photographs from their region and commissions.  In addition to this, Rob has procured a significant number of antique pieces from missionaries, private collections and art galleries.

Sarah and Robert believe that ‘primitive’ art does not have to be old to be good.  While they have many old pieces in the collection, they believe the pieces in this collection should stand on their basis of their beauty and truth.  That is, they should be evaluated on their aesthetic quality over any ‘authenticity’ and the viewer should feel, through the form and details of the pieces, the truths they speak about our shared humanity.  Our visual mode has the power to transcend our differences and connect, even for just a moment, us through our humanity.

Finally, Sarah and Rob hope this, their first exhibition, will help them get closer to their goal of running the ‘The West Papuan Art Project” through an NGO that helps produce and sell high quality contemporary West Papuan art using the principles of fair trade and where profits are reinvested into community-led development projects. In contrast to other models of trade in art, this project will act not a middleman but a facilitating link between artists and markets.  By offering premium prices for West Papuan art and redirecting profits back into Papuan communities, the WPAP aims to distribute resources equitably and support Papuan livelihoods and culture.