Morgan Lavapo & Robert Banasi
Robert Banasi is a contemporary artist from Papua New Guinea who hails from the Madang and Milne Provinces. With a Batchelor Degree in Art and Design from the University of PNG, Robert aims to conserve his rich cultural heritage through art and has adorned the streets of Madang Province since 2008.
Equipped with a rich cultural history, Robert uses different art mediums to keep his cultural practices alive through his artwork.
As the founder of the Madang Art Maniacs, also known as MAM, which translates as ‘Father’ in the Bel language of the Madang Province, this art group has been bringing social change through art as a vehicle. Since the groups inception, it has been successful in bringing pictorial messages of the COVID-19 awareness to the rural masses in all six districts in the Madan Province.
Comprising artists from all walks of life ,equipped with spray cans and plastic palette wrappers, MAM travelled the vast terrains of the Madang Province through it’s districts, over the seas, by road and crossing vast rivers to deliver messages and make awareness of the pandemic through art. Apart from the Visual Communication MAM has also made their art more accessible by producing visual and audio content. This was made successful with support from the Melanesian Foundation, the Madang business community, including wonderful individuals.
With the aim in preserving his culture, Robert is now working towards creating an open art gallery in Madang, mobilising artists to create wonderful and exotic murals in Madang Town. Robert is now focussing on a new project that depicts the history of Madang through open mural paintings. He wishes to pass on Madang’s history through visual communication.
Morgan Lavapo was born on the 4th of June, 1978 in the city of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to father Moses Lavapo and mother Aware Malala. Originally from LEIKIPI Clan of IOKEA Village, Gulf of Papua. He is the 2nd chiId of 6 siblings. Morgan attended Butuka Community School and completed Grades one to six from 1986 to 1991. He then continued to Grades 7 to 10 at Kila Kila High School from 1992 to 1995. This was the highest level of education Morgan attained in his educational history.
After completing his education he took up any odd jobs to sustain him and his family.
His story in art began when hemet a man named Lorou who painted on coconut shells. Morgan painted a design that surprised Lorou and that was where it all began.
Morgan started painting in the year 2002 as a self-taught artist. His initia paintings were on coconut shells as lime pots.
Seeing other painting displayed by other artists at the local craft markets made him move onto canvas paintings. He has also participated in many art exhibitions locally and internationally in absentia.
He has also take commissions from individuals and organisations.
Painting has become his life and supports him and his son in their daily living. He is also building an art studio to do his work.
Morgan primarily paints with acrylic on canvas and paints any subject he finds interest in, mainly animals, portraits, cultural beauty and native contemporary paintings also.
Morgan states that he will die with his brushes in his hands.