Country/Region: Western New Guinea (view other artists)
Village: Babrongko, Sentani
In the late 1990s, Barto Wally was one of 25 carvers resident in the village of Babrongko, on the south shore in the central part of Lake Sentani. The village has been there for at least 12 generations. He is a member of the Wally clan, who are the chiefly (ondofolo) line from the nearby village of Yoboi. The Wallys are the only carving family in Babrongko of long standing other than the Melangsenas.
Barto has been carving since 1982, having learned the art from books as well as a collection of carvings by his older brother in Yoboi.
The carved bowl by Barto in the collection is inscribed with the spiral airembu homo design (where homo in the Sentani language refers to all kinds of graphic art or writing). This design, which occurs in at least 30 different forms on the lake, is variously referred to as fouw or mekala-kala (fingers) in other communities. It is said to represent the life force or “ground of being” of the community.
Traditionally the ondofolo to a younger member of his extended family to carve items for the chiefly household; others were not allowed to carve. This practice did not change until 1982, when the local office of the Industry Ministry persuaded the traditional chiefs to allow any who wished to carve, as it was feared that the art would otherwise die out. Classes were set up in which traditional carvers, including Barto’s uncle Thomas Wally, instructed neophyte artists from the Sentani communities.
VIEW SHORT BIOGRAPHY
Sago Porridge Spatula, Praying Mantis
Sago Platter with Seated Figure
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