11 & 14 June 2010
We met a fascinating Papua New Guinean artist by the name of Fabian Paino. He carves Malagan wooden sculptures, the ceremonial art of New Ireland’s living culture.
His work is now found amongst people’s collection from all over the world although Fabian still does not consider himself a master carver. He will be famous one day when he progresses to become one. But for now, he is content to remain an artist with ambition to excel in his craft. He hails from the Langenia Village, Konos from the north coast of New Ireland mainland. He is of the Notsi linguistic region from the same Konos district as living master carver Ben Sisia of the Libba Village.
The furry headdress is from the bark of a tulip tree or in their local language the Mulai tree. This bark is pounded with a hard piece of wood and once soft is sewn together to make the hair part of the mask.
Fabian has been carving for about 11 years now and our friend Dietmar Amon of Lissenung Island Resort bought two of his first carved tatanua Masks welcoming everyone to enter the restaurant. Traditionally, tatanua masks are made new and used in their traditional dance.
Traditionally, Malagan art works are made, used or displayed in ritual context and then destroyed.
Fabian is also the coordinator of the cultural group of his village Langenia. He used to be an elementary school teacher teaching kids their Notsi language but he finds carving is his passion and gave up teaching for his art. But as coordinator of their cultural group, he continues to teach and preserve their culture by teaching dance, carving and their traditional Malagan art. Their cultural group can perform 10 – 30 dances – a very unique cultural activity of their living tradition. Langenia Village is by the coast, an hour and a half by car from Kavieng.
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