Asia Pacific Triennial Contemporary

Asia Pacific Triennial 9

Pacific triennial of the contemporary art is a huge ambitious APT series of the Queensland art gallery. This series had been in existence since 1993 and usually have more than three million visitors who aim at viewing exciting and crucial contemporary work of art which has crucial cross-culture insight (Chandler, 2016). This has enabled the gallery to partner with experts in the region as well as being one of the major collection of collections of contemporary art from both pacific and Asia. This art is usually overflowing with life and color as well as being free for visitors. It presents a unique mixture of creativity and some insight across cultures. This Asia pacific triennial of contemporary art (APT9) featured almost eight artists and groups from more than thirty countries.

Exploration of some never seen before painting, installations, images, and video made me amazed. I felt full of life and for once, I was able to discover what a beautiful career awaits me outside there. I also felt encouraged to work hard to be featured in these exhibitions at one time.


While viewing these exhibitions, it is important to consider place as it is an approach of examining how artists express and address the issue of geography, history, and the complexities of religion. From taking to attention aspect of place, one is able to get details of an art among other things resulting to appreciation of contemporary art across regions. Place and protest can be depicted based on the activities that are ongoing in a piece of art. For instance, protest focus is indicated from the paintings such as the crisis image of Somuk among other focus in an art.

Herman Somuk

As the purpose of APT series is to presents a unique mixture of creativity and some insight across cultures, this work will reflect on Herman somuk was born in Buka district in 1901 in an autonomous area of Bougainville. This choice among the APT selected artist is due to his success in painting as well as his reflection on religion and war which made him great artist in his region. He started working in 1920 where he was supported by his father, Marist priest as well as Patrick O’Reilly who once visited him in Bougainville. Many of his collections are preserved in museums and art galleries in Europe, documentary stories as well as live in bougainvillea. Most of the themes that he brought about were mostly of war and Christianity (Brun, 2014).

The role of Asia pacific triennial of contemporary arty (APT9) is to exhibit a unique mix of creativity as well as cross cultural insight such as community protest against injustice among other insights. Additionally, it has a role of describing, promoting as well as challenging the conventional definitions of art that is contemporary with an aim of altering the social structures across regions. In order to feature unique mix of creativity and to redefine art from its conventional definition, Herman Somuk’s work is presented as an art from an artist who was a pioneer from Bougainville-Papua New Guinea. His work was famous in depicting the Second World War in art- japan occupies the Bougainville Island between 9 March and 5 April 1942, his life in Bougainville as well as some Cristian themes which he indicates in pictures. The artist in his work, mostly recorded memories of Bougainville crisis, Christianity and tales which he painted using oil paints. Some of his works include the image of crisis, wealthy woman, among others.

The reason for focusing on this artist is because; in his work he majorly created a true picture of the society in themes such as Christianity, crisis and war among other issues in the contemporary society. Based on my analysis, the artist has expressed most of my focus such as fear where from the occurrence of the second world war many people lost their lives, connection where the society remained together during the period of war and other challenges, and protest in which from memories of the war, Herman Somuk seem to protest against involvement of communities to crisis thus making his images of great choice.

Global Railway versus Air

The image of crisis clearly conveys a conflict where several individual seem to attack one person who in contrast seems to overpower them. Additionally, the artist seem to focus on place and fear where after the Japan invaded Bougainville many people died; in the image people are seen to be lying dead on the ground. On the place and Protest somuk is trying to depict the outcome of crisis as a way of warning people against crisis. Lastly on place and connection is observed where, the crowd seem to be united against one enemy.

First, Somuk use red color on the crowd indicates injury. Injury is always associated with anger, fury, lamentations among other feelings which bring out his focus on protest. In addition, the fact that some people are lying down bleeding create the focus of place and fear. This art communicate the impact of wars and crisis within a community. The black color of the painting is a clear indication that the people were not aware of the attack and as from the fact; the Japanese invasion caught the Bougainville people unaware. The fact that some people are dead and the crowd is still attacking shows a connection between the crowds against a common enemy. Based on the fact that the enemy has a bigger spear shows quality of superiority of the enemy who in history were Japanese who had advanced naval and air force technology.

This great work was made via painting using old paint. Somuk in his art indicate the enemy having a bigger spear compared to those of the crowd as a show of superiority. Secondly, the artist utilized black color to directly refer to night time. Furthermore, he indicates among the crowd an individual without spear who seems to be the leader of the crowd that indicating leadership. Moreover, the artist indicates people lying down bleeding as an imagery of the effects of war as well as fear that is created during crisis. Lastly, courage is demonstrated by the enemy against the Bougainville people. This is demonstrated on how the Japanese army invaded the area and stated controlling the society.

Global Railway versus Air

The artist conveys a strong message of slavery where individuals in the image are portrayed working without taking a break. Based on history, Germany was a colonial territory of German after the negotiation of German and Britain in 1886. Thus period was characterized by forced labor especially mining and resistance. The colors indicate presence of sun light. The authority seems to be boarding a vehicle and every worker is actively doing one thing or the other which show a focus of fear. Additionally, the slaves are working together which indicate there is essence of concern for each other thus connectivity. The artist seem to protest the colonization and enslavement of people. As per the image, Bougainville people seem to be overworked.

Again, the artist shows power by painting the picture with authority boarding a vehicle while the other people are busy working. This is an indication of the effect of colonization in Bougainville. Additionally, she people working are wearing wrappers while the people on the vehicle are neat which indicate poverty which is an indication that citizens are being victimized by the colonialists. The way the people are working while some pretending to be working give an image of fear. Lack of plants in the vicinity is an indication of environmental degradation and very hot environment which is an impact of mining.

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  • Brun, B., 2014. Réunir une documentation pours l’Art Brut: les prospections de Jean Dubuffet dans l’immédiat après-guerre au regard du modèle ethnographique. Les Cahiers de l’École du Louvre. Recherches en histoire de l’art, histoire des civilisations, archéologie, anthropologie et muséologie, (4).
  • Chandler, L., 2016. A Project Waiting to be Done: the legitimisation of contemporary Asian art within the Queensland Art Gallery. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art, 16(2), pp.185-201.

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