Vokeo Island Lewa Mask-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art I have spent a lot of time of Vokeo Island. It was one of the first places I tried field collecting in earnest. I joined a community dinghy as it left Wewak bound for the island. After a rough five-hour journey and all the passengers were dropped off at their respective villages the man holding the throttle of the outboard motor turned to me and asked who I was visiting. All I could do was shrug my shoulders as I knew no one there. He was kind enough to take me in and I spent a week with his family. One of his sons took me to every single village and I collected some great bowls and some of these classic Vokeo Island lewa masks. I did not collect this present example—it was collected in the 1940s by an Australian soldier. But I have seen enough of these masks to recognize its early style with full volumes and a deep, rough-hewn backside. I like the dash of yellow trade paint around the mouth. Lewa masks were danced only in times of distress and hardship when the community felt the world was out of balance and the spirits were needed to be brought in to set everything back in rhythm—something we surely need these days. The mask dates to the early 20th century, is 13 ½” (34.2 cm) in height.