Brenda Kesi (Ariré)


Born: c.1937, Enopé village, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea
Language Group: Ömie
Clan: Ematé
Lives and works: Kinado village (Gora), Oro Province, Papua New Guinea
Mediums: natural pigments on nioge (barkcloth) and sihoti’e taliobamë’e (mud-dyed barkcloth appliquéd on white barkcloth)


Brenda was a young girl during the turmoil of World War II and she remembers the 1951 eruption of Dahore Huvaemo (Mount Lamington). Brenda’s mother was Go’ovino and her father was Valéla, both Ematé clanspeople from old Enopé village between the Jordan and Maruma Rivers. It was here that her mother taught her how to sew her grandmother, Munne’s, sihoti’e taliobamë’e - designs of the mud. This method of appliquéing mud-dyed barkcloth was first practiced by Suja, the first woman and mother of the world, as told in the Ömie creation story. Brenda has begun to teach her sister Teresa Kione (Avur’e) to sew the ancestral Ömie sihoti’e designs such as wo’ohohe - ground-burrowing spider and taigu taigu’e - ancetsral tattoo designs. Brenda lives happily by the Jordan River with her husband Robinson Kesi.


Balai, Sana; Modjeska, Drusilla; and Ryan, Judith, Wisdom of the Mountain: Art of the Ömie, National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne 2009
Gregory, Bill; and Ryan, Judith, Ömie: The Art of Ömie [exhibition catalogue], Annandale Galleries, Sydney 2009 


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Drusilla Modjeska Collection