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BEMAC 25th Anniversary Tapa Kulit Exhibition

BEMAC 25th Anniversary Tapa Kulit Exhibition

Pacific Island Tapa has become an ongoing love affair for BEMAC. The Talking Tapa dialogue continues with a new exhibition, the first at BEMAC’s new premises, The Queensland Multicultural Centre.   Following on from the successful Talking Tapa touring exhibition which travelled to three states over the past two years, BEMAC presents TAPA KULIT,  works from PNG and the Indonesian Province of West Papua, curated by BEMAC project manager Joan Winter. Joan has just returned from two months in PNG and West Papua and the exhibition is all new works collected on that trip.

Tapa, the generic term for beaten bark cloth, is most commonly made from the inner bark or bast of the paper mulberry tree, as in the PNG works in the show. Tapa in West Papua is less processed before painting. Men predominately make and design kulit kuya in West Papua. In PNG, while men used to only beat the tapa in preparation for their wife’s and female family members to design and paint, more men are taking up design and painting as a way to earn money.  This is particularly the case on the Uiaku Coast, home of the Maisin people. Teenage family members may fill in the red/brown dye in a similar way to how extended family may work on desert paintings in Australia.  Pictures are based on clan design emblems and totems. In West Papua, the design is mainly fish and birds found on or in Lake Sentani one of only two places in West Papua where tapa is made. On the Uiaku Coast of Oro province in PNG traditional designs were and  are still based on  the distinctive women’s facial tattoos found in this area. Tapa may be ironed.

All the tapa on display is for sale, a rare treat as this type of tapa is rarely seen in Queensland. The exhibition will be open on the first floor till Tuesday 30 November.

Prices range from the smallest at $165 to $1350

Please drop in and have a look  or contact Joan Winter BEMAC on  07 3391 4433 /  07 3300 7464  /   0421 108 747

BEMAC is developing an ongoing exhibitions program for this space.

Event Snapshot

Dates: Thursday 25 October - Friday 30 November
Tickets: Free Event
Address: 102 Main Street, Kangaroo Point
Artist website:
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