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Simon Gende

Simon Gende
Plasticman traffic officer of Goroka PNG 2018
Acrylic on canvas
71 × 107 cm

  Simon Gende

Born Gere, Gembogl District, Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea


My name is Simon Gende. I was born on the 17th of September 1969. I was born in the village called Gere in the Gembogl District, Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea. My Language is Kuman. I am married with three wives and twelve children and have twenty-four pigs and also I’m a village leader. I start doing painting in 1989. I don’t get any training but I just paint on what I think. Most of my ideas I get from famous late Kawagle Mathias founder of the contemporary arts in PNG. In PNG we don’t have any gallery only one in Port Moresby but I live in the village so I sell my paintings during show events, sometimes when tourist boat comes to Madang and Lae and most of my time in front of Bird of Paradise Hotel in Goroka. In PNG it is expensive to buy canvas so I just use other cloth materials. I don’t have special brushes I just buy them from the school supplies shop and when they are old I throw them away. Most of my paintings are about big new stories in the world because most of people like to buy them because they want to keep the stories of what they heard over the news. It’s something like keeping history on the painting.

Solo Exhibitions

Gilas bilong lukim papa graun (Mirror to the world), Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
Wan year bilong mi (My year), Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney
Simon Gende: History Paintings, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
I hope you get me clear, Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney
Wol long lukluk bilong mi (How I see the world), Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney

Group Exhibitions

Signature Art Prize, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore
Permanent display, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, UK
10 Years of Collecting at the ANU, Drill Hall Gallery, Acton, ACT
No.1 Neighbour: Art in Papua New Guinea 1966–2016, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Death, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney
Kauage and objects and bilums from the m+m collection, George Paton Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Victoria
Chimbu, Collegiate Church Saint-Pierre-la-Cour, Le Mans, France
Chimbu: peintres contemporains papous, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Rochefort, France
The Beyond Time: Crossing the Ocean—South Island Contemporary Art, Gaomi Pavilion, Shandong, China


Anon. ‘ANU’s art on parade’, City News, 21 April 2017
Boulay, Roger (editor). La peinture des Papous, Éditions Parenthèses, Marseille, 1993
McDougall, Ruth. No.1 Neighbour: art in Papua New Guinea 1966–2016, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2016
Oates, Tony. ‘Current Affairs—Simon Gende’s view from the Highlands’, Simon Gende: History Paintings [ex. cat.], Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, 2014
Pickles, Anthony J. ‘To excel at bridewealth, or ceremonies of office’, Anthropology Today, Vol 33 No 1, February 2017 
Terradillos, Jean-Luc. ‘Chimbu: peintres papous’, Actualité Poitou-Charente, No 76, April 2007
Watson, Bronwyn. ‘Simon Gende offers a PNG perspective on 9/11 with Twin Towers painting’, The Australian, 13 September 2014


The British Museum, London, UK
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, UK
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Australian National University, Canberra