THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT of Papua New Guinea has sanctioned the removal of two structures from the parliament building, also known as the Haus Tambaran, apparently because they are thought to have, or are thought to represent, the powers of evil.
Dr Andrew Moutu, director of the National Museum & Art Gallery Director, has called the decision of Speaker Theo Zurenouc and Parliamentary Clerk Vela Konivara “heinous sacrilege.”
He said it followed “various sentiments expressed in the media about the apparent religious and spiritual connections of the images.”
Dr Moutu said the carved anthromorphic human faces that represent images from various parts of Papua New Guinea are on the symbolic lintel that adorns the façade of the National Parliament.
The National Museum & Art Gallery also understands that plans are in train to also remove the totemic poles that adorn the State Hall inside the National Parliament.
Dr Moutu said the National Museum resisted the implementation of these plans but that its advice was accepted by the Speaker and Clerk.
He called on them to abandon existing plans to remove cultural decorations and to commission and re-install a new lintel to replace the one that has been removed.
“Culture and history provide the soul and heart of any nation and to desecrate cultural symbols in this manner is to subject our national identity to an alien self-image,” Dr Moutu said.