Korwar art-style developed by Mr. Nico Asaribab (see the photograph on the top right), a prolific artist in Manokwari, is from the Biak tribesmen of Geelvink bay. He lives in Anggrem area just a stone throw away from the beach. As a matter of fact, it is not easy to find his house because it is located in a crowded neighborhood where there are a lot of houses around.
If you come to Manokwari and want to visit him, you can contact me so that I can escort you to meet him or see the map of Manokwari city on page 9 of the Papuan Artists brochure to locate Mr. Asaribab’s residence.
It is not surprising to see that most of his paintings are about the sea, fish and coral reef life. He also paints birds of paradise (Cendrawasih). Mr. Asaribab is from Biak island; so, the wooden carvings that you see on this page are from the Korwar style of the Biak tribe. “What is Korwar?” one the tourists that I guided used to ask. Well, Korwar is the representation of their ancestors.
Because most of the Papuan people have professed Christianity, beginning gradually when German evangelists Otto (and his wife) and Geisler landed in Mansinam island of Papua, they “officially” don’t practice ancestral worship anymore. Even though in reality, to some extend, some Papuan still practice it.
Now, the carving skills of the artists in making Korwar statues are being preserved through the production of souvenirs for foreign tourists. Mr. Asaribab is not alone, he is now helped by his sons. The Asaribabs are real wood carvers. He has attended a number of art exhibitions in such cities as Manokwari, Jayapura and in Jakarta.by Charles Roring