Wood, Inkjet Printed Fabric, Green Lights
Gallery: Imagination Giants
A memorial-like installation built in dedication for the Sawiyano tribe of Papua New Guinea. Woris insait yu (pronounced closely to worries inside you) translates into English as friends inside the mountains. The large object in the middle is the positive shape of their traditional burial hole. The fabric is covered in a digital collage pattern from photos of leaves taken during my visit. The pattern resembles a "digital skin" or "rainforest texture" that one might see in older video games, or Google SketchUp. The green light covers the black and white scene, attempting to bring forth a rainforest feeling. Each element is a placeholder for the real.
The installation was Part 1 of 2. During part 2, the fabric was used to create tank-tops in a sewing workshop, and signed by the "artist."
This piece also had the opportunity to be reviewed by Lori Waxman during her visit to Inova Gallery in Milwaukee.
60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC @ INOVA MILWAUKEE,WI 6/2/13 3:30 PM
A memorial structure can be a commemoration or it can be a chronicle. Brian Nigus’s “Woris Insait Yu / Friends Inside the Mountains” functions as both in relation to its astonishingly foreign subject: the Sawiyano tribe of Papua New Guinea, an isolated mountain group among whom Nigus lived for two months. Returning to Milwaukee, Nigus fashioned a haunting installation of fabric panels in a dense, digital foliage pattern surrounding an oblong wood sculpture based on the irregular shape of Sawiyano burial holes. Bathed in a dark green light, the room transmits some sensations of remote jungle life, including the funeral that Nigus witnessed during his time with the tribe. In its focus on death, however, “Woris Insait Yu / Friends Inside the Mountains” seems to reflect on the larger, perhaps more dire situation of a tribe of 100 people who speak a language unique to themselves, and whose nearest neighbors are a village six hours away.