Michael Reid Gallery opens exhibition of phantom tribal shields in Surry Hills
When the members of the Highland PNG tribes grabbed their machetes and launched into battle, they wanted a defend with essentially the most protecting imagery doable. Enter the ghost.
When members of the highland tribes of Papua New Guinea grabbed their machetes and went into battle, they wanted a defend with the strongest and most protecting imagery doable. Enter the Phantom, aka “the strolling ghost”, aka “the person who cannot die”.
Utilized in PNG as a literacy support within the late Nineteen Seventies, the comedian ebook hero created by Lee Falk in 1936 was shortly adopted by warring Highlanders who wished the fearless ghost to sport their shields.
Solely about 150 of the ghost shields nonetheless exist, in keeping with tribal artwork seller Chris Boylan, who’s exhibiting a dozen of them on the Michael Reid Gallery in Surry Hills.
Among the shields are from unknown artists, whereas others are from the late artist Highlander Kaipel Ka or John Wahgi, who nonetheless lives in his highland village.
“Kaipel Ka was in all probability the primary to color the ghost (on shields),” Boylan stated.
The soldiers introduced their shields to those “sign-writers” to be embellished.
With value tags starting from $ 4,000 to $ 11,000, the shields are all owned by Boylan. He has long-standing ties to PNG and has been gathering artwork from the nation for 40 years.
The Phantom was the one comedian ebook hero the Highlanders ever painted.
“They noticed Phantom as a robust character, so he match into the fashion of a New Guinea warrior,” Boylan stated.
One other factor the Highlanders have been linked with was the jungle setting the place Phantom lived within the Cranium Cave.
“In New Guinea Highland mythology, when individuals die they have an inclination to remain within the village till everybody they know in life is lifeless. Then they go up into the excessive mountains and that is the place The Phantom lived, ”Boylan stated.
It may be an enormous week for Phantom followers in Sydney.
Not solely can they see their hero within the Michael Reid Gallery, however they will additionally attend the Supernova Comics and Gaming Present at Sydney Olympic Park on June 19 and 20.
Members of the Lee Falk Memorial Bengali Explorers Membership are internet hosting their annual fundraising dinner on June 19 on the Tattersalls Membership, with cash for Westmead Kids’s Hospital.
The Michael Reid exhibition runs till June 24.