Contemporary Papua New Guinean Artists, who usually sell their art on the streets and who rely largely on visitors to the country, have been affected greatly by the pandemic.
Coupled with the close of international borders and domestic restrictions in place, that have closed all craft and art markets, contemporary artists have been having a very difficult time selling their art.
An annual art exhibition in Brisbane, Australia, has been offering some form of relief for some of these artists, to display and source potential buyers for their art work.
“The art exhibition’s theme is ‘Paradise Palette’ and this year, we had a total of 35 PNG contemporary artists take part,” said the Chairman of Tumbuna Visual Art Association, Mr Clement Koys.
The Tumbuna Visual Art Association is a sister association to the Royal Brisbane Art Society, who have been collaborating to host this annual event at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, for the past 5 years.
“Almost 30% of the artists that participated in this exhibition, sell their art on the roadsides and they rely mainly on tourists, to buy their art,” said Mr Koys.
“We don’t have any tourists visiting us anymore and these artists are finding it very hard to sell their art.”
“The ‘Paradise Palette’ Exhibition, is an excellent initiative for these self-taught contemporary artists, as it gives them the opportunity to sell their art and also gain some much needed exposure as well.”
The Tumbuna Visual Art Association were given K10 000 by the Brisbane City Council, to host the exhibition.
“With these funds, I usually take care of logistics and organizing, to send our artworks down to be displayed in the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane,” said Mr Koys.
Koys adds that of the artworks sold at the Brisbane Exhibition, 10% of the proceeds was given to the gallery that hosted the exhibition in Brisbane, with 90% of the sales, sent back directly to the artists.
The ongoing annual exhibition that ran for 2 weeks at the Brisbane Art Gallery, was a great success and Mr Koys hopes that the contemporary artists’ community can continue to collaborate and make future exhibitions more successful for all parties involved.