Exhibition: Humanity and Tribal Conflict in Papua New Guinea
Layered mountain peaks hide the harsh reality of conflict in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Sparked by disputes over issues ranging from land to election results, tribal fights lead to dozens of deaths and thousands of displacements every year.
Long seen as part of highland culture, tribal conflicts are held to be traditional ways of expressing grief and seeking restitution. Feuds can last generations, resurfacing to cause new casualties for old crimes.
In the Fight: Humanity and Tribal Conflict is a journey through the deep-rooted historical and cultural complexities of tribal warfare in Papua New Guinea. It is a story of how communities are working with the International Committee of the Red Cross to minimize the humanitarian consequences of being 'in the fight'.
Across the hills and valleys, villages lie abandoned. Ruined homes and crops serve as grim reminders of the violence. People who flee their ancestral lands must seek shelter in neighbouring communities.
For those affected by conflict, fear and uncertainty are constant companions. Every day brings the possibility of a fresh attack. To protect themselves, people carry bush knives. Some carry guns.
Meet the nuns who act as negotiators, helping resolve disputes. Nurses who run into fights to provide aid to the wounded on both sides of the conflict. Teachers who rally communities to rebuild schools destroyed by fighting. Students, who as former fighters have returned to school to warn against turning to violence.
In the highlands, the ICRC works with local actors to stage drama performances, encouraging tribal fighters to respect international rules known as the 'laws of war'. It conducts first aid training for communities often too remote to reach the health facilities they need.. It helps communities rebuild damaged essential infrastructures like health centres, schools and water tanks.
These and other initiatives seek to foster an environment where people who are not involved in the fighting are spared from the worst of its consequences. It is an approach that puts humanity first, and In the Fight: Humanity in Tribal Conflict shares just that, ICRC and communities working together to put humanity first.
Head On Conversations
Recapturing the audience: Why is nobody paying attention?
Saturday 4 May, 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Exhibition opening event at Gaffa Gallery
Thursday 9 May, 6pm - 8pm
Artist talk at the Festival Hub
Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford St
Friday 10th May, 12pm
Exhibition floor talk at Gaffa Gallery
Saturday 11 May, 12pm - 1.30pm
Exhibition open hours
Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 11am - 5pm