blog / Sampari Exhibition: Call Out for Artists

Wed, 14 September, 2016

Sampari Exhibition: Call Out for Artists

A visual arts show in Melbourne - that will raise awareness about West Papua - is calling for submissions from Papua New Guinean, ni-Vanuatu, Solomon Islander, Fijian and New Caledonian Kanak artists as a show of solidarity with the indigenous West Papuan people. Artists can apply to be included in this exhibition until October 17. 



Following the success of its inaugural art exhibition in 2015, the Federal Republic of West Papua (Women’s Office) is curating the 2016 SAMPARI ART EXHIBITION AND SALE FOR WEST PAPUA, to be held at the ACU Art Gallery in Melbourne from the 2-11 December 2016. This show will display artworks from artists from a diverse array of backgrounds inspired by West Papuans: their culture(s), politics, history, or their extraordinary maritime and territorial environments. In addition, seven public events celebrating West Papua will be held in the exhibition space, to further raise awareness and move the public through the Gallery.

One wall of the exhibition space is being reserved exclusively for (scanned) artworks from Solomon Islanders, ni-Vanuatu, Papua New Guineans, Fijians, and especially the Kanaky of New Caledonia who are preparing for an independence referendum in 2018. This 'Melanesian Wall of Art' will serve to celebrate the unique political support, and sacrifice, of West Papuan's Melanesian kin, who in 2015 fought for (and won) a bitterly contested battle over West Papua’s inclusion in the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Island Forum. Recognition by these two inter-governmental fora is the first formal acknowledgement of West Papua’s independence movement since the beginning of the Indonesian occupation in 1963.

Details on how to make a submission are below.



West Papua, occupied by Indonesia since 1 May 1963, is a bounty of inspiration and paradox.  It’s a territory of extraordinary physical beauty (being plundered). An ancient landmass of complex geologies (being exploited). A living museum of rare flora and fauna (sold in black markets across Java). The home of an indigenous people whose footprints embed ancient time and space. And the land of our neighbours whose ambition is to be free and independent. 

Melanesian artists have a unique perspective on West Papua. They see a war zone where brown-skinned people with frizzy hair like themselves are being murdered for raising a flag. A kin state bursting with songsters and poets and imaginative resistance to Indonesia’s genocidal policies. Tiny isolated villages struggling to survive within a militarized colonial space. Unique flora and fauna stifling in the shadow of the biggest gold-and-copper mine in the world. They understand their artwork as strong-arming their politicians for their next monumental battle, to relist West Papua on the UN Decolonisation List in September 2016.

Melanesian artists are encouraged to submit works that explore or take inspiration from West Papua – its stunning geography, culture, politics, history, and resilient indigenous people.



After the Submission Closing Date (17 October 2016) artists will email SCANS of artwork (A4 Size at Resolution 720dpi) to Melbourne. In Melbourne, each scan will be printed on exquisite paper, exhibited, and (hopefully) sold for $60. Money from sales will be split 50/50 between Artist and Federal Republic of West Papua (Women’s Office) - dedicated team of volunteers who are curating the exhibition. For any questions about payment or submitting work, send an EMAIL to the address below.



If you would like to make a submission, simply send an EMAIL to:

The curators will work with you to answer any questions and assist you to make your submission.



The West Papuan indigenous people are our Melanesian brothers and sisters; due to corrupt forces of history and the colonial and corporate self interest of Western and Asian powers, West Papuans were denied the independence and self determination of countries like Papua New Guinea - who will celebrate their Independence Day soon on Friday 16 September.

As a result, the West Papuan people continue to be brutalised on their own land: dispossessed, controlled, robbed, tortured, abused, humilated and murdered by indonesian armed forces on their ancestral lands. It is an horrific injustice they have endured for over 50 years.

Today, The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) comprises the four Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia. However, the West Papuans have so far been denied full membership; Indonesia, however, won observer status in 2011 with the support of the leadership of Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

And in June 201, Indonesia was recognized as an associate member - making them the official representative of West Papua, while the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has been relegated to observer status. Indonesia's membership of the MSG has therefore giving them a greater influence in Melanesian politics than the ULMWP. 

As a creative reponse and statement, SAMPARI will curate a Melanesian wall of support for West Papuans comprising art from artists from all the Melanesian nations in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia). 

This is your opportunity to use your artistic expression to both celebrate West Papua, and show your support for the West Papuan peoples ongoing struggle for freedom!







Words supplied by Federal Republic of West Papua (Women’s Office) with additional words and edits by Pauline Vetuna.

Image 1: Sampari Exhibition banner, designed by  Sandra Colditz and Bronwen Bender.

Image 2: Highlands, supplied by Jefry Yikwa.

Image 3: West Papuan Women, by Dante Photography.

Image 4: Paniai District, by Yupri Dogomo.

Image 5: A typical traditional house from the highland of West Papua Called HONAI. Supplied by Jefry Yikwa.

Image 6: Liberty Papua Leading the People (After Delacroix) Peter Woods 2011 (Hidden Heroes Exhibition: West Papuan Women of Resistance)

Image 7: Benny Wenda Morning Star Flag West Papua, by AK Rockefeller (creative commons)


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