Creative Spirits Book
CREATIVE SPIRITS Bark Painting in the Washkuk Hills of North New Guinea
By Ross Bowden
ISBN 1 920892 86 9 


The art of painting on bark is found in many parts of the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea, the home of the Kwoma people who are the subject of this study. Following European contact at the end of the nineteenth century and the rapid social change this entailed many New Guinea peoples gave up producing their distinctive designs on bark, but in some of the more remote parts of the island the art form still flourishes. This richly illustrated book documents the bark paintings of the Kwoma of the Sepik River region. The book describes the architectural setting in which Kwoma barks are displayed; the technology of painting; the subjects of designs; how the art form is taught; how Kwoma understand the concepts of 'style' and 'art'; the criteria used to judge quality in painting; and changes that are beginning to take place in the art form. The final chapter profiles six artists and documents their paintings in detail. 

  • Creative Spirits Contents 
  • Chapter 1 Sepik painting 
  • Chapter 2 Images of identity 
  • Chapter 3 The technology of painting 
  • Chapter 4 The elements of design 
  • Chapter 5 The Kwoma style Chapter 
  • 6 Shared images. Shared meanings? 
  • Chapter 7 Aesthetic values & artistic creativity 
  • Chapter 8 Learning to paint 
  • Chapter 9 Recent developments 
  • Chapter 10 Six painters and their paintings 
  • Map, Notes, References, Index