Oceanic Artwork at Alcheringa Gallery

For over thirty years, Alcheringa Gallery has collected and sold Oceanic artwork. The work is sometimes described as primitive art, but is in fact part of a vibrant ongoing culture. Elaine Monds, Director of Alcheringa Gallery, travels to villages along the Sepik River, to Wewak and to other parts of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Ireland to purchase directly from the artists at prices that guarantee them a livelihood. Often this means the difference between life as a migrant labourer in the city, versus enjoying a place of respect as artists in their home villages.

Among those represented by Alcheringa Gallery are descendants of carvers whose work can be found in the Jolika Collection, assembled by John and Marcia Friede and housed at the de Young Museum in San Fransisco. This collection is considered one of the finest collections of Papua New Guinea artwork in existence. The New Guinea Sculpture Garden at Stanford University, a showcase for contemporary aboriginal art, also contains work by Alcheringa Gallery artists.

Teddy Balangu, a renowned Sepik carver, is in Alcheringa Gallery’s collection; on two occasions, he has visited Victoria to engage in cultural exchange with Northwest Coast First Nations artists, and also had an artist in residency at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, where he carved a magnificent house post. While in Victoria, Teddy collaborated with Coast Salish artist John Marston, who also traveled to Papua New Guinea to experience the carving traditions of the Sepik River, as a result of an exchange facilitated by Alcheringa Gallery.

Oceanic artwork in Alcheringa’s collection include mwai masks, carvings of human figures, birds and animals, and elaborate finials like those at the peak of a Haus Tambaran, or spirit house. Malagan figures from New Ireland are available, as are unique carved storyboards and whimsical woven sculptures. The works range from delightful hand-held objects to monumental ceremonial masks and finials.

Oceanic artists represented include Kaua Gita, Kipa Gaindimi, Teddy Balangu, Joseph Kandimbu, Claytus Yambon the late Plasios Asapi, Angelina Gumowe from the Sepik River, and the late urban painter Mathias Kauage, considered Papua New Guinea’s best-known contemporary artist.

We invite you to view our collection of Oceanic artwork and other artwork in our online catalogue, learn more about our artists and view our upcoming exhibitions.

If you have any questions about aboriginal painting or any other pieces we carry, we’re always happy to hear from you. You can get in touch with us by phone (250.383.8224), by email (alcheringa@islandnet.com) or by filling out our online contact form.

You can also visit us in person at our gallery in downtown Victoria BC