Image: Baining Nature Powa, 2014. © Wylda Bayrón
Bilas: Body Adornment from Papua New Guinea
Opening 9 June 2023, featuring photographs by Wylda Bayrón.
- Special exhibition Opening Friday 9 June
- Buy tickets $22.50 – $25
- Museum Map Exhibition Hall, (Access via Upper Ground)
- Audio Guide Listen to the guided tour: coming soon
Witness the beauty and diversity of body adornment and decoration from Papua New Guinea in this stunning exhibition featuring photographs by Wylda Bayrón and a selection of objects from the world-renowned Pacific cultural collections of the Australian Museum. Explore the transformation of the human body into a living art form through the practice of bilas and discover rich, cultural practices of the Papua New Guinea communities.
In Papua New Guinea the practice of body adornment is known as bilas, a word from the pidgin language Tok Pisin, and celebrates the intrinsic interconnection of peoples to place and to all things living. Over millennia, different forms of bilas have emerged, fulfilling varied everyday physical, social, and spiritual needs in unique ways. Made from an array of natural resources including shells, feathers and plant fibers, some adornments signify power or prestige, others are for cultural celebrations and ceremonial purposes.
This new exhibition explores the roles and meanings of bilas in all its forms. Delve into the diversity of styles, techniques and materials, and the personal stories and practices. See over 80 examples of bilas from throughout the 21 provinces of Papua New Guinea, including rare and never-before-seen cultural objects. Newly acquired cultural objects will be on display from Laipian Culture Group of Koki (Laiagam District, Enga Province), Yambu Rimbu Culture of Yalu (Kagua District, Southern Highlands Province) and the Maring Glong Culture of Meingik, Koinambe (Jimi District, Jiwaka Province). The exhibition will also feature over 60 breath-taking photographs by Wylda Bayrón from her solo-journeys in Papua New Guinea from 2013 to 2019.
Experience rich practices and culture of one of the world’s most diverse countries in Bilas: Body Adornment from Papua New Guinea.
AM Members & Non-Member tickets
Buy tickets for 10+ people
Education and group bookings
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For free entry to Bilas
Visitors (including AM Members and children with free tickets) are advised to pre-book their preferred session time in advance to avoid disappointment.