The American Bishop Alphonse Sowada, who has been active in Papua New Guinea for decades, supported the project and has founded an Asmat art museum there in the land of the Asmat. It was the bishop that gave the initial impulse to offer works of Asmat art, via the Asmat Art Galerie, in Germany. Bishop Sowada wanted to help the Asmat tribe keep their cultural identity and support themselves economically through sales of their art work.
After having suffered political reprisals in the seventies and eighties, for being head-hunters in the past, the Asmat want to regain their lost self-confidence and pride through their art work.
Asmat art is dominated by traditional motives and inherited art forms, such as the wonderful Bis-poles, Wuramon-soul boats, Binuit-crocodiles and the shields, all used in ritual feasts. Nevertheless many of the artists are also inspired by their experiences in everyday life. Their works of art reflect the impressions made on them by an everchanging world.
Western Artists were inspired by their work. Several accompanied the researchers Ursula and Professor Gunter Konrad to Papua and worked there with Asmat artists. Others let themselves be inspired by the power of Asmat art and used it to shape and create their own forms.