Ömie Artists

Image details at the end of text

The Ömie are a language group, living in the remote mountain villages that surround the sacred volcano Huvaimo in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea.

The Ömie Artists Inc. cooperative was founded in 2004 to create the most exquisite barkcloth paintings, also known as 'tapa' especially for the Fine Art market to show the world the strength of Ömie culture.

Most motifs of the Ömie are hundreds probably thousands of years old. They refer to the creation story of the Ömie, the land and the natural environment they live in as well as to their law, customs and rites. These included tattooing clan insignia (sor’e) onto the skin, which was banned by first missionaries but triumphantly transferred onto barkcloth by Ömie women.

In the meantime the extraordinary artistic talents of the duvahe (Chiefs), elders and leading artists have attained a level of mastery. They are free to paint their uehorëro (wisdom), creating new designs. Artists in their own right who have developed individual signature styles are highly recognizable. From the very beginning their finely executed and highly experimental barkcloth paintings have been exhibited as works of fine art without neglecting their ethnographic importance.

Photos (f.l.t.r.): Artists wearing barkcloth © Ömie Artists