Pax Jakupa is the son of the late Jakupa Ako one of the first students to be admitted to the Create Arts Centre in Port Moresby in 1974. Pax, originally from Bena Village, spent most of the his life living in a settlement outside of Goroka, in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea. After his father’s death in 1997, Pax decided to follow his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in art. Pax has regularly exhibited his work at the annual events in Goroka including the Coffee Festival (May), the Goroka Cultural show (September), and he has held several exhibitions at Goroka’s Bird of Paradise Hotel and Pacific Garden Hotel. In 2003, he was selected as recipient of the Commonwealth scholarship and spent a month painting at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture in Fiji under the mentorship of the Tongan writer and scholar Epeli Hau‘ofa. Currently, Pax is represented by Melbourne based Alcaston Gallery and is currently exhibiting at Without Pier Contemporary Art Gallery.
Nearly fifteen years into his career, Pax has developed a significant body of work. He began his career by mimicking his father’s imagery, but eventually generated a uniquely vibrant pallet depicting his own experiences of village life and culture situated in the Goroka area. He explains, “I want people to know [my father] is still alive. Through [my] artwork, he is still alive. I usually do ten to fifteen paintings. Five are like my dad’s and the rest are my own.” While maintaining a stylistic relationship with his father’s artwork, Pax consistently seeks expressive innovation. He uses bright, bold, and contrasting colors with a focus on geometrical and inventive forms of visual storytelling. This short essay describes some of the important themes found throughout Pax’s art practice.