Artist's cultural association:
Akarmerempa mid 20th century Place made: Tomman Island, Malampa Province, Vanuatu Melanesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, coral
These figures were created for a Nimangi on Tomman Island called Akarmerempa, a grade that can be taken at any time, irrespective of the individual’s status in the grade system. During the grade event, this work would have been over-modelled with vegetal clay, painted brightly and positioned on top of a carved post. The grade-taker must sacrifice one pig, giving a portion of it to his sponsor.
After the ceremony the figure is discarded and left to the elements. This work is unusual for being created from a large chunk of coral, rather than stone. Charpentier could not verifiy the work’s age but felt it was quite old.
 J-M Charpentier, New Hebrides field collection 1972-73 card index, no.81, National Gallery of Australia.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013
From: Crispin Howarth Kastom: Art of Vanuatu National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2013