Ilma Savari (Ajikum'e) | Artist Profile

Details of Ilma Savari (Ajikum'e)


Ilma Savari is the daughter of venerated elder and pre-eminent Ömie artist Sarah Ugibari. In recent years, Sarah (the oldest living Ömie, at approximately ninety-seven years of age), has begun the crucial task of imparting her store of ancient wisdom to daughter Ilma. Among other things, this has involved Sarah teaching Ilma to paint and sew a number of enduring Ömie and Managalasi barkcloth designs. Both mother and daughter began working with Ömie Artists Inc. in 2009. These days, Ilma spends much of her time preparing barkcloths and painting and sewing the many ancestral designs Sarah has handed down to her. She also enjoys preparing for (and singing and dancing at) tribal celebrations.

At the dawn of time, Managalasi and Ömie Ancestors emerged from the underground cave Vavago as a single people. Over time, these first people migrated across the greater Huviamo region and into Hydrographer's Range above Managalasi Plateau. Subsequently this group split into separate tribes which both still celebrate "Mina and Suja", a shared ancestral creation story about the first man and woman. They also have many customs and barkcloth designs in common. Ilma creates works originating from both tribes because her mother Sarah was born Managalasi but later married an Ömie man. It was she who brought knowledge of Managalasi culture into the Ömie realm.

Ilma's painted Ömie designs depict traditional Sidorajé clan tattoo markings, while her painted Managalasi designs originate from Koruwo and Kiara villages high on Hydrographer's Range. Her appliquéd mud-dyed barkcloth designs, in the form of Chiefs' prestige barkcloths, are derived from both tribes. Along with abstract paintings and appliquéd mud-dyed barkcloth designs, Ilma also paints important stories relating to sacred sites of Gora, such as those relating to Uborida (Jordan River), and her surrounding homelands. She uses a unique (for Ömie) combination of figuration and symbolism to create these compelling images.


2017 Ilma Ssavari (Ajikum'e):Lore and Mud of Uborida, Andrew Baker Art Dealer Brisbane
2017 Ilma Ssavari (Ajikum'e): Aréro Ajivé (A New Light), Andrew Baker Art Dealer Brisbane


2018 Ömie Barkcloth Art - Papua New Guinea, Japingka Aboriginal Art, Perth
2018 Art of the Ömie, JGM Gallery, London, England
2017 Ömie Barkcloth Art of Papua New Guinea, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney
2017 PNG: It's Dynamite (Papua New Guinea Art 1968-2017), Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, Australia
2016 The Sacred Mountain, Illuminated: Ömie Barkcloth Art of Papua New Guinea, Aboriginal Signature - Estrangin Fine Art, Brussels, Belgium
2015 Hijominöe Modéjadé (Guided by Ancestors): Ömie Artists 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, Australia
2015 An Exploration of Bark (in association with Ömie Artists and Maningrida Arts & Culture), Outstation Gallery, Darwin, Australia
2015 Art Karlsruhe 2015 (Ömie Artists presented by ArtKelch), Karslruhe, Germany
2015 Under the Volcano: Art of Ömie from Papua New Guinea, Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich, Germany
2014 Das soll Kunst sein Vol.12 (Ömie Arists presented by ArtKelch), Kunstverein, Freiburg, Germany
2014 Ömie Artists: Contemporary Tapa Art from Papua New Guinea, ArtKelch, Freiburg & Stuttgart, Germany
2013 Painted and Woven in Song: Ömie Barkcloths and Bilums, RAFT Artspace, Alice Springs, Australia


Appel, Michaela; Kelch, Robyn; and King, Brennan, Ömie Artists (exhibition catalogue), ArtKelch, Freiburg & Staatliches Museum Für Völkerkunde München, Germany, 2014
Baker, Andrew, PNG, It's Dynamite (exhibition catalogue), Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane 2017
Child, Charlie; Guerrini-Maraldi, Jennifer, Art of the Ömie (exhibition catalogue) JGM Gallery, London, England 2018
King, Brennan, Hijominöe Modéjadé (Guided by Ancestors): Ömie Artists 10th Anniversary Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, Australia 2015
Aréro Ajivé (A New Light) (, Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane, Australia 2016


Ross Bonthorne Collection, Sydney, Australia
The Aurthur Roe Colleciton, Melbourne, Australia
Private Collections

Artworks of Ilma Savari (Ajikum'e)