Sarah Ugibari


Born: c.1919, Kiara village, Managalasi Plateau, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea
Birth name: Solloborro [Samwejé (Managalasi/Ese Language Group)
Language Group: Samwejé and Ömie
Clan: Sidorajé
Lives and works: Anahobehi village (Gora), Oro Province, Papua New Guinea
Mediums: natural pigments on nioge (women’s barkcloth skirts) and sihoti’e taliobamë’e (appliquéd mud-dyed barkcloth)



“I produce barkcloth art to show the world the strength of Ömie culture.”


Sarah has been painting for Ömie Artists since 2009 and she loves to sit and paint ancestral barkcloth designs as well as to sing and dance for celebrations. Her mother was Maranabara of Koruwo village and her father was Suevini of Kiara village on the Managalasi Plateau. As a young woman, Sarah married an Ömie man of the Sidorajé clan from Gora village. Managalasi people and Ömie people share the same ancestral creation story of Mina and Suja, the first man and woman as well as many of the same barkcloth designs. Sarah learnt to paint as well as create sihoti’e taliobamë’e, designs of the mud, from both her mother and her grandmother. She is credited as the oldest Ömie woman. She is the foremost authority on traditional customary dress and spends days preparing the hair of young girls for dancing. Sarah teaches Ilma Savari how to paint and sew Ömie designs.


National Gallery of Australia