Echoes of the ancients resonate in the intricately carved wooden masks and fearsome deities shaped by Gogodala artisans. Their traditions have been passed down through generations, linking today’s Gogodala craftsmen to their forefathers. Woodworking is so highly prized that the male carvers hold a special place of prominence in tribal canoes and oars, musical instruments and decorative plaques. Each piece is painted in the vivid colors of the tribe: red, yellow, white and black. The Gogodala women artisans tend toward the practical, weaving sturdy baskets and other items used in day-to-day life from palm fronds. Shells of all shapes and sizes are used to create earrings and big, bold necklaces. The women also have a distinct style of one-needle knitting that they use to create hats, blankets and handbags called “bilum.” And they tint them as brightly as the statues carved by their male counterparts.
Photos by Tim Long.