Artist's cultural association:
Malakula (Malekula) Island region
Natoer tan mwilip 1973 Place made: Menmenboas Village, Malakula Island, Malampa Province, Vanuatu Melanesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, wood, ochre, boar tusks, bamboo, fibre, clay
Perhaps unique in museum collections, this striking work was created for Natoer noemeu, the important fourth grade level of Menmenpoas village. The three faces may relate to the previous grades the individual has already entered, and the tasselled and plaited rods protruding below the uppermost face indicate the wealth—in the number of pigs—the grade-taker has paid to enter this level.
Only one prized tusked pig is required to be sacrificed, but five other pigs must be paid to the grade-taker’s sponsor. Once this has been done, the grade-taker can take the name, or title, of ‘Tarump’.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013
From: Crispin Howarth Kastom: Art of Vanuatu National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2013