Adoration of the Magi bark painting from Papua New Guinea

The organization Wycliffe Bible Translators is committed to translating the Bible not only into all the world’s written languages but into its visual languages as well.

In 2011 Wycliffe missionary Peter Brook commissioned artist Nanias Maira, who belongs to the Kwoma people group of northwestern Papua New Guinea, to paint Bible stories in the traditional style for which he is locally known. Using the Kwoma palette of red, black, and white, Maira painted several pieces on the Genesis creation account and some on the early life of Jesus.

When these paintings were presented to the Kwoma people, their response was, “These are ours!” They were excited to see their culture honored in the telling of the gospel and were thus more receptive to it, more engaged.

Papua New Guinea nativity

Nanias Maira (Kwoma/Papua New Guinea, 1975-), Ner Wiynmaiy, 2011. Painting on sago palm bark. Photo: Peter Brook.

Maira’s painting Ner Wiynmaiy depicts a happy, naked baby Jesus framed by the Star of Bethlehem. The Three Magi sit below in adoration of the newborn king.

For more information on Brook’s role with Wycliffe and Maira’s art, see “Ethno Arts and the Gospel” on the Wycliffe website.

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6 Responses to Adoration of the Magi bark painting from Papua New Guinea

  1. jane arney says:

    Reblogged this on Infinite Windows and commented:
    This is wonderful! Evangelizing with art!!

  2. - Marleen Hengelaar says:

    Hi Victoria,

    Could you write a meditation about this some time?

    Happy New Year,


  3. Kay Paton says:

    Would it be possible to buy a reproduction of this artwork?

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