Collection Online

Me maka (Face design)

earth and natural pigments on sago palm petiole
115.7 × 64.1 cm
Place/s of Execution
Bangwis village, Washkuk Hills, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Accession Number
Pacific Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of The Thomas William Lasham Fund, Founder Benefactor, 2001
© Courtesy of the copyright holder
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
Physical description
The painting is a two dimensional representation of one of several types of paired anthropomorphic faces that are carved in low relief in large numbers on major longitudinal side beams in men’s houses. The paired face depicted here is the one named me maka. As in the carved originals, the two faces reflect each other across a horizontal mirror line, and touch their chins. The two faces are highly stylised and heart-shaped outlined in white and given a pair of black eyes and large black nose. A serpentine yellow line outlines the nose, the coiled end of the line enclose the two eyes. The black roundel outlined in red and yellow between the eyes represents the figure’s ‘makabe’ (forehead).