It was Avei's first teacher at Hohola Infant School who handed out pencil and papers and asked the class to draw whatever they wanted. He drew a young man with a headdress and kundu drum, his drawing was celebrated as the best in class. Little did he know, his artistic abilities would serve him well throughout his life.
Avei hails from Boera Village in the Kairuku Hiri area and has three brothers and four sisters. All the brothers either paint or draw with two graduating from art school. It was his brother, Kohu who taught him to print and he worked for many years in Port Moresby as a professional screen printer. It was during this time that he discovered his talent of creating designs from pictures by hand cutting stencils.
The designs he presents in the "Spirit of Papua New Guinea" range reflect the history of his family and village. He distinctive style in the Motuan tattoo tradition build incredibly intricate, complex designs that are a testament to his unique skills and attention to detail. Although Avei begins to work up a design in pencil on paper it is not until he takes up the blade and starts to cut the stencil by hand that the image takes on the detail and life that you see here.