Artist from Papua New Guinea has Solo Exhibition in London

Artist from Papua New Guinea has Solo Exhibition in London

An artist, whose making of bark cloth (nioge) and exhibition of examples of it at the Royal Academy of Art in London were described in the September 2022 issue of PNG Kundu, is now to have a solo exhibition in the UK. This is the first solo exhibition by an artist from Papua New Guinea to be held outside that country.

Lima Savari Eje Breast Plate—Bark Cloth 2020, 330 x 60

The artist, now exhibiting as Ilma Ugiobari, is a member of the Ömie people, a group from the slopes of Mount Lamington in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea. Her boldly composed and meticulously executed images are painted on sheets of fine-grained bark cloth made from the inner bark of mulberry or fig trees. Additional elements are appliquéd onto this ground, stitched with a needle fashioned from the finest bone of a bat wing.

The exhibition, ‘Eye of the Sun’, to be displayed at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, 2a Conway Street, London, W1T 6BA from 5–30 November 2022 will include 15 works, all of which will be for sale. Prices for the artworks will be available from the gallery closer to the time of the exhibition but, as an indication, a piece exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art was valued at £2,275.

Her restrained palette—of ivory whites, charcoal greys, cinnamon reds, and brilliant golds—derives from her immediate rainforest environment. Pigments are made variously from pounded and chewed leaves, roots, volcanic ash and fruit pulp.

Ilma Savari, Eye of the Sun, 2020—Bark cloth

Nioge are a central feature of Ömie life and culture. Made almost exclusively by women, they are used for personal adornment, domestic comfort, and ceremonial purposes. The essential iconography of their decoration derives from long tradition and combines schematic

Soru’e (tattoo) designs with figurative elements gleaned from close observation of the natural world.

The Gallery describes her work thus:

Every pattern and colour choice is freighted with meaning. Nioge play a vital role in contemporary Ömie society in their recording and

Lima Savari Victory Banner, 2020—Bark Cloth

preservation of ancestral stories and spiritual teachings. Deploying these traditional elements in her own distinctive fashion, Savari creates work that combines a deep knowledge of her ancestral history with an unexpected contemporary directness.

Ilma is excited to be attending the exhibition at the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery in London—a gallery committed to championing indigenous women artists from around the globe.

Previous Ömie Artists Exhibitions

John Egerton AM


Worked for Burns Philp in Popondetta and Port Moresby from 1980 through 1987

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