PNG National Mask Festival – Baining Fire Dance

A highlight of the Papua New Guinea National Mask Festival the Baining Fire Dance was a memorable evening of fantastic costumes, rhythmic singing and drumming, all around and through a large fire.

Each of the dancers came out one by one, in one of three different memorable costumes. I rather liked the impish smaller costumes with the tall headpieces, but the huge bark masks are an iconic image of the festival and were the ones that approached the fire.

As the dance progressed they got increasingly close to the fire, kicking up the hot ashes to spectacular effect.

This was one of the most challenging places I’ve been for photography, using a flash removed some of the magic, but without it was a challenge to get clear images. I rather liked the few that came out with second hand flash from other cameras.

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