Joyce Mary Arasepa Gole OL (Mary Gole)
Born 1941, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea
Lives and works in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Joyce Mary Arasepa Gole (Mary Gole) came to prominence in the early 1980s with her highly sculptural pottery and distinctive textile designs. Though Gole’s drawings and works in clay are inspired by the rich ceramic and barkcloth traditions of the Orokaiva people of Oro Province, her creations are undeniably contemporary.
The head and face, coiled, paddled and sculpted to create Gole’s Water storage pot – woman’s face are iconic images created to acknowledge and honour the significance of women in Papua New Guinea. More recent figurines respond to stories published in the Post Courier (the daily national newspaper); one of these, a young susu (breastfeeding mother), was motivated by a story of rising intolerance in Papua New Guinea to women breastfeeding in public. Incensed, Gole began creating figures to honour and support these women in the face of the criticism roused by imposed, foreign ideas of morality. In 2007 Gole was made an Officer of the Order of Logohu (OL) for her contributions to contemporary art in Papua New Guinea.
Joyce Mary Arasepa Gole OL (Mary Gole) / Orokaiva People / Papua New Guinea b. 1941 / Susu mama with baby 2009; Water storage pot – woman’s face 2009; Young girl sitting down 2009; Pregnant mother sitting down 2003 / Hand-thrown earthenware with applied decoration, natural wax and knotted commercial cotton wool (bilum) / Various dimensions / © Mary Arasepa Joyce Gole OL / Photograph: Merinda Campbell, QAGOMA
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