We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Painting from ceremonial house (spirit figure with wooden mask)

mid 20th century
collected 1965


Wiski Busengin Woknot

Papua New Guinea

circa 1920 – 1976

Ap Ma people

Papua New Guinea

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Bark painting (Figure with wooden mask as head)
    Spathe painting with wooden mask
    Place where the work was made
    Wom Village Keram River Lower Sepik River East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Ap Ma people
    mid 20th century
    collected 1965
    Media category
    Materials used
    sago palm petioles, wood, plant fibre, natural pigments
    135.0 x 70.5 x 7.5 cm overall; 25.0 x 10.0 x 6.0 cm mask
    Purchased 1965
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Wiski Busengin Woknot Family

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Wiski Busengin Woknot

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    Ap Ma people

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Throughout the 1960s, comparable panels were found in villages west of the Keram River such as Lol, Paniten and Wom, where this panel originates. The men's ceremonial house in Angoram was also embellished with several similar panels, stitched together to form a large 'canvas'. Father Lehner of the Catholic Mission of the Divine Word sent examples to the Steyler Mission Museum in Germany, while another is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

    These all feature a carved and painted wooden head attached to the top of a support of sago palm petioles. Below the head, the body and limbs of a figure – possibly a culture hero or spirit – are painted in white clay and ochre pigments.

    [entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 20]

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Wiski Busengin Woknot

Other works by Ap Ma people