Travel Magazine

The Bilum Wall of Waigani

By Travellingartist @devtramp
Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

At the central area of Port Moresby called Waigaini; by the busy intersections that serve prominent establishments such as Holiday Inn and Lamana Hotel; by the sidewalks that gets occupied by locals and visitors on most days; stood this wall that showcases a significant part of the PNG culture — the Bilum Wall.

Bilum Wall of Waigani

The “bilum” is the colorful handwoven or knitted shoulder bag, a popular souvenir for most people visiting Papua New Guinea.

Bilum Wall of Waigani

Traditionally woven from native vines and fibers from plants or trees, thus also traditionally prepared in natural hues; the bilum has, over the years, evolved in color and material. The more recent and very colorful ones are made of commercially produced yarn, in these ones, red – the dominant color in PNG flag – also dominates the colors of the bags.

Bilum Wall of Waigani

Various souvenir items, not only bilums, are actually being displayed by local artisans and entrepreneurs along the wall.

Buka Baskets

Another popular souvenir from PNG, the “Buka Basket” is crafted from indigenous materials and dyed brown with natural saps.

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

Some of the vendors do their knitting while keeping watch over their souvenir items

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

Bead necklaces, bracelets and other trinkets, many of them crafted on-site, are also available.

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

Paintings and wood carvings are also on display. Some parts of the wall are dedicated to local paintings and indigenous art. There are also other areas in Port Moresby where whole walls display indigenous art for sale.

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

Of course, traditional masks, spears, bows and arrows, and a whole lot of other PNG souvenirs can also be found along the wall.

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

But, due to their often bright colors, the bilums are the most attractive and thus the wall was named after it.

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

And, because the wall is along a street where roadside parking is allowed; a souvenir hunter can just park his car or taxi next to the wall, pick and order one from the vendor even without leaving the car, and then go once a transaction is completed.

Bilum Wall of Port Moresby

But that’s not too much fun. The joy of souvenir-hunting has to be enriched by a personal interaction with the sellers — learning more about the item and the role it plays in local culture — and of course, bargaining for a lower price. And the friendly vendors are just happy to haggle.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

Magazine