Artlab is conserving a Papua New Guinean Awan spirit mask from the South Australian Museum collections.

Conservator cleaning mask from Papua New GuineaManaging the project is Sophie Parker, Objects conservator who is pictured cleaning the Awan

This towering body mask, made from plant fibres and wood, is currently undergoing a cleaning treatment and will also be prepared for storage.

Metal supports and a customised crate have been made by Artlab’s conservators with a dual purpose. When the Awan is in transit, the crate can be carried in a horizontal position and in the course of storage, the crate can stand vertically ensuring the fragile spirit mask is secure and protected.

Image: Artlab Australia - Awan tumbuan (Iatmul spirit mask); Maker: Tipma Guai; Tambanum village, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Wood, plant fibre and pigments. Circa1960. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.