Ratoos Haoapa Gary
Ratoos is among the few Papuans from the Gulf province of PNG who continues to express the beliefs and traditions of his ancestors through his paintings.
Ratoos was born on the 6th of May 1962 in Papua New Guinea. It was not long before he found his roots as an artist and became involved in a wide range of teaching and performing in occupations in both PNG and Australia. Ratoos belongs to the tribe known as the Elema people who originate around the Orokolo and Kerema Bays near the shores of the Gulf of Papua.
The Elema people are acknowledged as being the oldest and most radical tribe in Papua New Guinea. They are mostly recognised for their sorcery and mediumship in relation to the governing of the people.
The traditions and beliefs of the Elema people are no longer practiced today due to the interference of the Western world on the traditional culture. Ratoos continues to use design and symbols to communicate ideas in his paintings about his heritage and beliefs.