Tomorrow may be a big day for Papua New Guinea but it looms as an even bigger day for Hal Holman, because the man who designed the PNG Coat of Arms, who had a significant input in the design of the national flag and whose art and sculptures derive their beauty and energy from PNG is to become an Officer in the Order of Logohu.
The award is given for distinguished service to PNG, and it is beyond argument that Hal Holman has provided this – from his experience as a commando in World War II to his work as an official artist in the years around Independence to his contribution to public art in PNG since.
Hal Holman returned to Port Moresby in 1962 for what was intended as a brief visit. Instead he joined the Department of Information where, among his colleagues, was a young journalist named Michael Somare. Since then many PNG commissions have come Hal's way including a large bronze of Queen Elizabeth II, bronze busts of the six prime ministers of PNG since Independence and an eight-metre high stainless steel Bird of Paradise adjacent to Parliament House in Port Moresby. These are among many other Holman sculptures and works of art in the city.
Hal was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004 for his services to the arts as a designer and sculptor. The most recent PNG award gives him the unusual honour of being recognised by both countries. To suggest that Hal is delighted would be a grotesque understatement.
You can read Hal’s story of how PNG got its national flag here.
And something of his war exploits in the New Guinea highlands here.
And you can find out how you can acquire one of his works of art here.