ABELAM PAINTING FROM A CEREMONIAL HOUSE
East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Sago palm spathe, pigments
Height: 52 in (132.1 cm)
Harry A. Franklin, Beverly Hills, acquired by the 1960s
For the Abelam, paint is a magical substance which gives objects their beauty and power. Anthony Forge notes that "Abelam painting technique is extraordinary because it combines great speed with firm control by the artist", who worked with great boldness, drawing "the sweeping curves characteristic of Abelam design with speed and accuracy." (Forge, "The Abelam Artist", in Freedman, ed., Social Organization: Essays Presented to Raymond Frith, London, 1967, p. 76-77).