This striking work Look Within 2 (2007) by Papua New Guinea artist Daniel Waswas is the latest addition to Te Papa’s collection of contemporary Pacific artworks. It depicts four images of the same person, conveying a message of self reflection and addressing the idea of identity from within one’s own background. In 2009, the painting was selected by the Kaohsiung Museum in Taiwan for its show Art in the Contemporary Pacific –– The Great Journey: Iin Pursuit of the Ancestral Realm.
A Master of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Auckland, Waswas has been involved with art-making, cultural events organisation, and arts education since the early 1990s. He has lectured in art and design at the University of Papua New Guinea and, in 2005, established the Gallery PNG in Port Moresby to promote local indigenous art. He was a research scholar at the University of Canterbury’s Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies in 2007.
Waswas’ painting joins Te Papa’s small collection of works by esteemed artists from Papua New Guinea, including Jakupa Ako, Gikmai Kundun, David Lasisi, John Man(n), Morububuna Martin, Mathias Kauage , and Cecil King Wungi.