Catherine Edelman Gallery’s current exhibition Sandro Miller: I am Papua New Guinea is featured by Musée Magazine!
Writer Kala Herh discusses the body of work:
The people of Papua New Guinea speak volumes in front of his camera. Previously, Miller notes the voyeuristic quality about the work dealing with Papua New Guinea’s indigenous population — most commonly observed from a great distance away and armed with long lenses. With this revelation, he challenges this precedent. The intimate black and white portraits translate into a bare encapsulation of the culture and the vast richness it employs. With Miller’s choice to separate the subject from the environment, he fosters an open invitation to engage in a two-directional conversation based on mutual respect.
For this project, Sandro made three trips to Papua New Guinea over a two-year period, photographing 400 indigenous people from more than a hundred different tribes, including the Geremiaka mudmen near Asaro, the Huli wigmen of Tari and in the Yenchan village tambaran (spirit house) by the Sepik River. Headdresses, face painting, tribal dress and ornamental talismans take center stage during the annual Sing-Sing festival, peaceful gatherings where tribes share their traditions through song, dress and dance. At the crocodile festival in the Sepik basin, tribes celebrate the special bond they have with the crocodile, which symbolizes power and manhood, by enduring skin-cutting initiations that resemble the back of the reptile. At these festivals, Sandro set up a studio, inviting hundreds of people to have their portraits taken. For most of the sitters, it was the first time they had ever seen a photograph or what they looked like. The result is a powerful body of work of a thriving culture far removed from its industrialized neighbors.
Sandro Miller: I am Papua New Guinea runs through November 9, 2019.