Wherever we go in life, we search for a centre. This could be a landmark or a meeting place to regroup, find our balance and come home to ourselves. For some, it’s the warmth of a kitchen where the family gathers, for others it’s in front of a hearth in which a fire blazes, or it’s at the sacred altar of a church. For the Sepik people of Papua New Guinea, it is the Haus Tambaran that is their village centre. A centre for traditional ancestral worship, meetings, rituals and initiations.
The Haus Tambaran are unique structures which show off the exquisite artistic abilities of the Sepik people. These spirit houses can reach up to 25 metres in height and are usually designed to be long and with an A-frame shape. The apex of the spirit house displays totems of the clans and the front entrance wall is often tall and elaborately decorated. Care is taken when building the house as it is the most important structure of the village. It is built to last up to 60 years so only the best materials are used.