Image: Centre: Poka Francis in Koranigle, 2017. Photo courtesy Helen Dennett. Left: Arbelo ensnared by python c2002. Right: Soldier c2002.
Poka Francis lives in the village of Koranigle, in Simbu Province, in the mountainous highlands of Papua New Guinea. When he was young, Poka had a vision of a man, and later a woman, walking stiffly through the forest, their feet making a strange ‘tik tok tik tok’ sound. They were not real humans, but beings made of wood. Then he awoke and pondered his dream. Sometime later he collected wood and began carving some figures. Among the first of the figures he created, was of James Taylor, the Australian-born explorer, who led patrols into the New Guinea highlands in the 1930s.
In 1994, Poka first met Helen Dennett, who encouraged his carving and over the next three decades assembled a collection of his distinctive work. Flinders Street Gallery will present the first solo exhibition of Poka Francis, from 21 November to 21 December 2019. The carvings on display represent beings both real and imagined: colonial settlers, the people of the highlands, Christian figures and his patron Helen Dennett.
FLINDERS STREET GALLERY
61 Flinders Street, Surry Hills
11am – 6pm Wed – Sat
or by appointment