Omil yal (Big-eyed man), from the series Karem kai kai
Haus Yuriyal (Men of the Yuri)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Early in 2019, Australian-born Eric Bridgeman travelled to the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where he worked on the 'kuman' painting project with his Simbu cousins and uncles from the Yuri Alaiku Omdara clan. As the grandson of revered marksman and village big man – the late Muka Geulua – Bridgeman led the group in sharing cultural knowledge about 'kuman', or fighting shields, which have been crafted for generations.
The series title 'Karem kai kai' – whose basic translation is 'to hold or carry food' – translates more broadly as 'Cargo that holds great value, importance, cultural and/or political weight', as related by the artist. Bridgeman has noted that when seen as a group, the drawings convey 'protection and danger; tribal warfare and brotherly love; sorcery and healing; and the living, the dying, and the dead'.
Drawn over a period of two months in early 2019, 'Karem kai kai' was produced by six members of Haus Yuriyal: Moses Mote Kirua, Paul Nulai, Munum Tolpari, Mori Kaupa, Bata Philip Kaupa and Yuriyal 'EB' (Eric Bridgeman). The vibrant forms seen in the 26 oil pastel drawings reimagine traditional Simbu shield designs, and reference the groups’ enthusiasm for sport, popular culture and politics, as well as inherent spiritual beliefs.
Place where the work was made
oil pastel on cotton rag paper
125.0 x 60.0 cm sheet
Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2019
Not on display
© the artists
Shown in 1 exhibition
Second sight: witchcraft - ritual - power, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, 01 Mar 2019–29 Jun 2019