Art and craft markets of Port Moresby reflect the unique richness of Papua New Guinea but very few know that they hide a secret. Among carvings, baskets and other souvenirs, can be found real pieces of art created by some of the best Papua New Guinean contemporary artists.
« Port Moresby is the heart, the ‘it-place’ and the hub of contemporary art in Papua New Guinea » says Gazellah Bruder, a humourous Tolai fineartist who knows better than anyone else the city art scene. « The artists, the buyers, the venues and the opportunities for the promotion and selling of contemporary artare in the capital city and no where else ! »
As Art galleries are not common in Papua New Guinea, everyday, artists are exhibiting their art outside prominent hotels and at the art and craft markets organised every Saturday around the city. The original market was previously organised at Ela Beach International School the last saturday of every month but recently, the event schedules to different venues on a rotation basis around the city and takes place every Saturday at Moresby Art Theatre (Waigani), Holiday Inn (Waigani), Laguna hotel (Waigani) and IEA College of TAFE (Ela Beach). There can be found famous Papua New Guinea’s bilum in any style and in provincial colours, fine Mendi baskets, Trobriands delicate plates inlaid of nacre and pearls, Sepik potteries and carvings, shell jewelry, kina-shell necklaces, earrings and coconut oil. But among those pretty souvenirs art lovers will also find some of the best of PNG contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Port Moresby is the city were the most well-known artists from all over PNG provinces exploded : Mathias Kawage (Simbu), Jakupa (Goroka), Akis (Simbai), Martin Morobubuna (Milne Bay), Joe Nalo (Manus), Ruki Fame (Eastern Highlands), Gickmai Kundun (Simbu) to name few, at a certain time of their life, sold their art on the streets Port Moresby city. Many have past on but their legacy remains through their art.
The legend, Matthias Kawage, sold in front of Holiday Inn and at other popular spots in the 80’s and 90’s. As many other of his pieces grace museums, galleries and private collections, one of his acrylic on canvas « Missis Kwin »(Queen Elizabeth II in Ceremonial Headdress) has since 1996 been part of the collections of Buckingham palace in London.Even to this day, his wife Elisabeth, late Matthias widdow continue to sell art in front of Holliday Inn. New upcoming, talented and promising artists like Albert Joseph, Michael Kauage, Nombri Temine, John Danger, Chris Kawage and Peter Siune to name a few, are doing the same… At the corner of the street, anyone can meet the nation’s most famous painters and have a chat with a next Papua New Guinean Picasso.
Where to find art and crafts :
• In front of Gateway and Holiday Inn hotel (Art and craft). Daily.
• Rotating Art market (Art and craft) : Laguna hotel (Waigani) first Saturday of the month, Moresby Art Theatre (Waigani) on the second Saturday, Holiday Inn (Waigani) and IEA College of TAFE (Ela Beach) on final Saturday.
• Boroko craft market, Tabari (Mainly craft). Daily.
• POM City market, Sir John Guise Stadium every second Saturday of the month (Mainly craft).
• Harbourside Night Markets at the town water front (Mainly craft). Various dates.