West Papua Art – Characteristics, Framework, And Stereotype

Papuan traditional art has unique characteristics that should always be discussed. The art attraction is impressive, from musical instruments to clothes to traditional dances. In addition, the traditions and culture on this island are still preserved in the modernization and digital era. Therefore, here is a discussion about West Papua art, framework, characteristics, and stereotypes.

Characteristics of Art in Papua

There are many studies of art and material culture, especially those that have the basis of museum collections, licensed concerning groups such as the Asmat. Researchers see how art in Papua is represented from generation to generation. In fact, the results of many useful studies support the production and sale of artistic objects by the Asmat and other groups in Papua.

Art is one of the important points that can connect various layers to Papua in the popular imagination. Museums and art galleries are the main supporters of exhibiting objects from Papua. As a result, this move has made one of the most substantial contributions to art in Papua, such as – the Asmat being the most well-known category of Pacific art.

The use of art is implemented in conjunction with objects made and used by Papuans. But more than that, art has a complex meaning. These involve endless looping debates because they have a unique charm. Although some consider this a primitive art, art from West Papua has an aesthetic and strong value as a work.

Perhaps art is the aesthetic force of the object being created in European art. But mostly, Melanesians themselves, namely Papua, have not traditionally identified this power in terms of aesthetics. Instead, they interpret art in a different context. Objects often embody or represent spiritual or political forces.

Many art objects that exist are useful for ceremonies or rituals related to non-human beings (such as spirits or ancestors). The impact the thing made on those participating as part of the creature’s powerful presence. Europeans recognize primitive art as aesthetic power, but in the context of Papua, it does not show beauty at all.

Stereotypes of Art

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Art in Papua, especially the Asmat and Kamoro arts, is often referred to as primitive art. Primitive art is a particular category, which may already be one of the twentieth-century phenomena. For West Papua, however, the idea of ​​primitive art is linked to stereotypes that are not just primitivism. The subject of Papuan art media leads to a primitivist or Stone Age condition.

However, attention to modes of representation of Papua also influences contemporary understandings of Papua, citing the wide influence of film. If the media often frame Papua as primitive, stereotypes also occur within Indonesia as a country within it. In fact, Indonesia uses a type of cultural framing: national narratives about ethnicity in the expression Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.

It is an attempt to unite citizens through a limited form of pluralism, which is based on the concept of adat. The complexity of Papuan culture is represented by examples of cultural practices carried out by the local community. Stereotypes also occur in Papua, observing that many value cloth as a symbol of tradition and a marker from cannibalistic people.


There are some ethnographic base notes from several community contexts in recognizing Papuan stereotypes and their usefulness. Overall, art is a relevant framing to understand other people’s responses to objects created and used in an area. It is analytical, just as art objects have meaning for the people involved in West Papua.

In particular, it is useful in understanding and contextualizing art in more detail. There are many things that can be found in the arts in Papua, such as the Kamoro introducing the Kamoro Art Festival as a party. Later, both Kamoro and Asmat continued to evolve with their own carving styles to suit their understanding of artistic representation.

In this case, art is not just thought about time, place, and ordinary ideas. It is an integral part of the perception of material form as manifested in the Korowai house. People are constantly changing the objects they create to relate to the interrelationships of their lives. In fact, the contextuality of art and culture are described.

At the same time, the pernicious stereotypes of Papua are stronger when less is known about its culture than Western representations. Objects or works of art in Papua are more than just art; they have value. Often, art has an entity that is invisible and difficult to explain. In this case, art in West Papua is not just thought about time, place, and ordinary ideas.

Overall, there is a lot to learn about the culture and arts in Papua. Not just an ordinary object; in fact, this work is of infinite value. Therefore, indigenous people interpret art as one of the things that are valuable for their spirituality. It relates to the spirits and traditions that have existed from the time of their ancestors.