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

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


Wanjagawi (mask)

collected 1965


Iatmul people

Papua New Guinea

  • Details

    Other Title
    Place where the work was made
    Kamindibit Village Middle Sepik River East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Iatmul people
    collected 1965
    Media category
    Materials used
    wood, cowrie shells (Cypraeidae), natural pigments
    52.5 x 20.3 x 14.0 cm
    Purchased 1965
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Iatmul people

    Works in the collection


  • About

    According to Gottfried Tawa of Kaminimbit village, this mask represents a 'gawi' (eagle). The mask would have been fixed to a large, woven 'tumbuan' costume that completely covered a man's body during a performance or ceremony.

    [entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 13]

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

    • Renée Free, Geoffrey Legge and Daniel Thomas AM, Tony Tuckson, Sydney, 2006, 17 (illus.). Photograph showing 1973 Aboriginal and Melanesian art display at the AGNSW, with works collected by Tony Tuckson on his 1965 trip to Papua New Guinea.

    • Peter Laverty (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly (vol. 13, no. 4), Sydney, Jul 1972, 697 (illus.). "The primitive art area is temporarily situated on the first floor. Exhibits are from the Sepik River, New Guinea, along with a grave-symbol figure from New Hebrides, in the left foreground". The 'Mask' is seen on the wall, together with other works collected by Tuckson in the 1960s and early 1970s.

    • Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 45. cat.no. 49; 'Mask. Kamindibit village (Iatmul). Wood, painted 53.5 h Collected 1965 (41)'

Other works by Iatmul people

See all 44 works