Peter Woods wins People’s Choice Award at Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua

Peter Woods, Nymphaea Papuana
PETER WOODS won the People’s Choice Award at the Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua. His Papuana Nymphaea is a gouache on watercolour paper that brings to light the suffering of the West Papuans in the setting of Monet’s famous Nymphaeas series of water lilies. The award was a Gift Voucher ($150) from FITZROY STRETCHES in Brunswick. (Photo: Peter Woods)

FROM THE CATALOGUE  This work comes from a current landscape series I have been doing as my response to spending two hours sketching in the gardens of Impressionist Claude Monet in Giverny, France. I have introduced the West Papuan suffering at the hands of the Indonesian state into the setting of Monet’s famous Nymphaes series  of the waterlilies in his famous garden ponds. The images in the pond of young Papuan people recently killed by Indonesian security forces seeks to deliberately disrupt the enjoyment of the garden’s aesthetic. It challenges the viewer to respond to this dissonance and reflect on how we in a free and democratic society can accept violent repression right next door to us, in our face. I also reference the ancient mythology  of the beautiful nymphs who were believed to live in ponds – hence the origin of the lily botanical name. In this garden view, however,  it is the beauty of Papuan youth that emerges from the waters, surfacing as ornamental dead witnesses making a mute appeal for justice to lovers, and painters, of pleasure gardens.


PHOTO: Van T Rudd, ACU Art Gallery, 4 December 2015

VAN T RUDD also won a People’s Choice Award with his sculpture Let rage, unity and love take form. The Award was a Gift Voucher of one frame donated by FRAMED BY YOU in Richmond.

FROM THE CATALOGUE The fight against the power of capital is global. When somebody resists state forces, they speak the language of a common goal: dignity and equality. Yet corrupt state forces are strong, and their ties with the world’s wealthiest bring immense power. This sculpture displays that fulcrum of opposing powers, and aims to gather and sling the arrows of justice for West Papua.

Bronwen Bender

PHOTO: Bronwen Bender 2015

BRONWEN BENDER won a People’s Choice Award donated by GREAT FRAMES in Northcote with her wire-art portraits of four West Papuan (former) political prisoners.


1) Jacob Rumbiak as a student, lecturer, culture man, and political prisoner helped inspire the generation of Indonesian students who brought down Suharto in 1998, and the West Papuan who are slowly but inevitably winning their independence. He escaped from Indonesia in 1999 to observe the referendum in East Timor, and from there was flown to Australia where he is widely recognised as a diplomat and a leading scholar on Indonesia and West Papua.

2) Muma Yusefa Alomang and husband Markus Kwalik, whose five children died from tailing sickness, have spent their lives fighting the landlessness, poverty, and disease in communities displaced by the Freeport Mine. Their tribe, the Amungme, have ancestral tenure over Nemangkawi, the site of the mine, and between 1977 and 1994 Muma Yusefa was incarcerated eighteen times, including in a cargo container of human faeces for a month. In 1999 she won the Yap Thiam Hien Human Rights Award, in 2001 the Goldman Environmental Prize, and in 2005 she was one of 1,000 women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

3) Buchtar Tabuni was born into the Lani tribe of the Central Highlands. After studying engineering in Makassar (South Sulawesi) he returned to Jayapura and found the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) for independence. In 2008 he was incarcerated for three years, after being charged with treason for rallying support for the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (in London). In the notorious Abepura Prison he was continually tortured and beaten by the Indonesian military and refused hospital treatment.

4) Babuan Mirino was thirteen in 1962 when the United Nations gave her homeland to Indonesia. While raising her seven children she was midwife to hundreds of women who refused to go to government hospitals where the child and mother mortality rate is the highest in Indonesia. Her husband’s political activism eventually forced her to seek asylum and she is now the Convenor of the West Papua Women’s Office in Docklands.


Vicki Kinai, Sampari art Exhibition 2015

PHOTO: Tommy Latupeirissa, ACU Art Gallery, 4 December 2015

PNG artist VICKI KINAI’s Perseverance and Endurance against the Odds (twisted tapa fibre, shells, pig tusk, bird, Emu feathers) is a hand-woven necklance designed and created in traditional Melanesian style to honour the women of West Papua. “They weave against the odds even when their tomorrow is bleak. They continue to persevere as mothers, wives, sisters, aunties and grandmothers of their loved ones whose lives have been lost in the fight for freedom.” (Photo: Tommy Latuepirissa)

Honai, ACU Art Gallery, 4-13 Dec 2015

PHOTO: Tommy Latupeirissa, ACU Art Gallery, 4 December 2015

Honai, 1 Dec 2015, Queens Rd (Tommy Latupeirissa), 2

PHOTO: Tommy Latupeirissa, 1 December 2015, opposite Indonesian Consulate, Queens Rd, Melbourne

Honai by LOBER WAINGGAI and GILIUS KOGOA. Honai is the home style in the highlands of West Papua, but this one was working outside the Indonesian Consulate in Queens Road on 1 and 2 December before moving 7 kms across town to the ACU Art Gallery in Fitzroy.

Tommy, Art Exhibition, 1

PHOTO: Dekki Woirei. Tommy Latupeirissa with his entry for the Sampari Art Exhibition Struggling for West Papua in Kanaky (New Caledonia), Struggling for West Papua in Union Lane, Melbourne, Struggling for West Papua in Solomon Islands

TOMMY LATUPEIRISSA has been photographing the indigenous peoples of the Pacific for years, at home, at play, and at their most dramatic in cultural festival and political rallies. He uses his photos to fortify the self-determination and independence ambitions of the Melanesian people of West Papua and their cultural cultural and political kin in Maluku.

Jacob, Dean Golja, 2015

PHOTO: Dean Golja, Studio, November 2015

Portrait of Jacob Rumbiak by DEAN GOLJA. “The artist’s intention for this portrait was to capture Jacob’s honesty and the result is this sincere and unpretentious photograph.”

‘A Dowry for the Sultan’, 3CR radio-interview with author Lance Collins, 9 November 2015

Jill, Preparatory sketch, A Dowry for the Sultan
A DOWRY FOR THE SULTAN is an exquisitely detailed account of a massacre averted in September 1054 in the predominately Armenian town of Manzikert on the eastern rim of the Byzantine Empire. An invading army of Turkic warriors from the steppes of Central Eurasia, led by the great Seljuk chief Tughrul Bey, are beaten by the civilians of the town in an extraordinary demonstration of courage, imagination, and love. (Seventeen years later, the steppe warriors returned and defeated the armies of the Byzantine Emperor Diogenes, opening up Anatolia, in what is now the Republic of Turkey, to the mass-migration of Turkic herders and their flocks).

LANCE COLLINS was the Australian Defence Force’s top military strategist for years and is well versed in the military history of imperial conquests. He has an abiding concern for the fate of small nations whose existence challenges the strategic interests of great powers. He first heard about the Armenian defence of Manzikert against the Turkic invasions while he was attached to the Headquarters of the 3rd US Army in Kuwait in 1992 (during the withdrawal of UN weapons inspectors from Iraq). He describes the siege as ‘the genesis of a genocide’, drawing a direct link between the imperial invasions of the eleventh century and the ‘Armenian Genocide’ by Ottoman government forces early in the twentieth century.

In 2015, on the hundreth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Collins considers parallels between the behaviour of the Ottoman Government and Indonesia’s genocidal policies in East Timor and West Papua, where he has himself witnessed the long-term consequences of war, persecution and trauma on people’s lives, and the ongoing impacts of what we now call Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. “We need to recognise the truth of what transpires and oppose these crimes, whether against Armenians, East Timorese, or West Papuans,” he says.

Lance Collins, Author of ‘A Dowry for the Sultan’, Interviewed by Dr Joe Toscano, RADICAL AUSTRALIA, 3CR Community Radio, Melbourne, 9 November 2015.

Image: Jill Collins, Preparatory sketch for the cover of ‘A Dowry for the Sultan’

Maraki Vanuariki Welcome Ceremony, Reconciliation and Unity Summit for West Papuan leaders, Vanuatu, 28 November 2014































Join the West Papua Rent Collective

Office 1

Opening of the DFAIT Office, 23rd June 2014. Photo by Tommy Latupeirissa

The issue of West Papua has been marginalised and ostracised by the Australian Government and Opposition. We need your practical support today so we can take our struggle directly to the Australian people. The West Papua Rent Collective is proudly supporting our struggle.  We need ten new members to ensure that we can continue to maintain our work and presence in the heart of Melbourne.

Each member pays $30/month, or $360/year. You can pay your pledge personally by cash, or cheque, or use your internet banking facilities.


Commonwealth Bank Australia
Account: West Papua Assoc-Melb
Branch: Prahran, Victoria
BSB 063162; ACCOUNT NO. 10300635
INQUIRIES: Dr Joseph Toscano, PO Box 5035, Alphington, Victoria 3078; Tel: 0439 395 489


Subscribe to our Mailing List

Update me about: