Arts & music Feed

Buruka Tau – keyboard maestro & PNG patriot

Buruka Tau - ambassador
Buruka Tau - PNG's ambassador of culture and the arts

| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - My dad, Buruka Tau, who died in early September, was a larger than life character and as spontaneous in nature as jazz.

As a kid, I just saw him as dad, a musician. One day, he would be with us doing everyday things and the next he was somewhere in the world being a rock star.

Continue reading "Buruka Tau – keyboard maestro & PNG patriot" »

The marvellous Queen of Paradise Orchestra

Orchestra performing for parliamentarians  2019
The orchestra performing for parliamentarians at Vanimo in 2019

| Sipikriva Girl | Edited extracts

BUTAWENG – The Queen of Paradise Orchestra was established beside the sea in idyllic Baro Village in West Sepik in August 2018

The orchestra and its classical music school are the brainchild of the religious family of the incarnate word working in Vanimo, who were inspired by a similar project in Venezuela.

Continue reading "The marvellous Queen of Paradise Orchestra" »

The image that stunned our readers

Marina Amaral
Marina Amaral in her studio. An exceptional artist, 76,000 viewers can't be wrong


NOOSA - On Monday, PNG Attitude published a famous World War II photograph, newly colourised by Brazilian artist Marina Amaral.

It proved to be an instant hit with many thousands of readers.

Some 76,000 people viewed the image and the accompanying story. Nearly 1,000 engaged actively with comments, likes and shares.

Continue reading "The image that stunned our readers" »

Revisiting an iconic image of comradeship

Private George Whittington & Raphael Oimbari colour Private George Whittington & Raphael Oimbari b&wKEITH JACKSON & SOURCES

NOOSA – Marina Amaral is a self-taught Brazilian artist known for her colourisations of historical black and white photographs.

The process involves historical research to determine the colours of each object pictured with colourisation often taking more than a month to complete.

Continue reading "Revisiting an iconic image of comradeship" »

A true musical treat this Easter


NOOSA – Well here’s a pleasant something for Easter. You can read about it just below or listen to it first by linking to it here.

I recommend you listen first.

This 'pleasant something' is a choral collaboration under the guiding hand of my son, Simon, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Continue reading "A true musical treat this Easter" »

Leaving Covid behind with brush strokes

Simon Pentanu's 'first three goers' - therapeutic to paint and relaxing to look at


Hon Simon Pentanu MP is Speaker of the Bougainville Parliament.
He is recovering from Covid.

BUKA - Stress and distress can be managed without popping pills or smelling Epsom Salts.

Or looking for the nearest pub to drown your worries or sorrows. Or worse, thinking about a noose.

A pandemic of any sort cannot be downplayed. And there is always help nearer than you think.

Continue reading "Leaving Covid behind with brush strokes" »

Covid costs Port Moresby musos big time

Musos without a gigOALA MOI
| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - A group of seven Port Moresby-based musicians have lost a combined income estimated at K232,000 over the six months since April, working out to K1,275 for each musician each week.

The musicians gathered last weekend at the National Museum & Art Gallery at Waigani to share personal stories of the effect of Covid-19 measures on their families.

Continue reading "Covid costs Port Moresby musos big time" »

It was a real labour of love

Artist Lisa Hilli
Artist Lisa Hilli paid tribute to the FMI Sisters through her art creating a large digital photographic collage of an image of the Sisters and 45 hand-embroidered cinctures.

| Australian War Memorial

CANBERRA - When the Japanese invaded Rabaul on New Britain in January 1942, a group of 45 Daughters of Mary Immaculate (FMI) Sisters refused to give up their faith.

Instead, they risked their lives to help save hundreds of Australian and European missionaries and civilian detainees who were held captive by the Japanese for three and a half years, first at Vunapope and then in the dense jungle of Ramale.

Continue reading "It was a real labour of love" »

Shy PNG artist's mentor became his subject

Mal Nagobi and Wesley Wengembo
Mentor Malachi Nagobi and artist  Lesley Wengembo

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute

SYDNEY - Alongside Malachi Nagobi, progress across the august grounds of the National Art School in Sydney is constantly – happily – impeded.

“Mal!” comes a voice, “Hello Mal,” another. Every handful of steps, another person wants to stop to chat.

Continue reading "Shy PNG artist's mentor became his subject" »

His Voice singing in the Wild West

His Voice Singers
Enga’s  Seventh Day Adventist His Voice singers, their voices echoing in the woods of Laiagam, Porgera and Mt Kare


LAIAGAM - His Voice is the singing ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Enga.

The group was formed in 2019 by men and boys from Tee, Paiyan, Walian and other neighbouring tribesmen of Paip SDA church in Mamal village in the Laiagam District.

On social media, people in our country and even the world can see our own Wild West of the three Engan districts of Laiagam, Kandep and Porgera fighting wars and losing lives.

Continue reading "His Voice singing in the Wild West" »

Old PNG recordings to be reborn

An old reel-to-reel tape recorder. The recordings are getting fragile and digitisation gives them a new life

| Pacific Beat | ABC

MELBOURNE - Since the early 20th century, anthropologists have been flocking to the Pacific, and then returning home with rare recordings of songs, stories and histories.

But, decades later, these fragile original recordings are at risk of deteriorating—and the race is on to digitise them.

Continue reading "Old PNG recordings to be reborn" »

Jackson’s deft poetry on new ‘Love Is Love’ album

Simon Jackson (2)
Simon Jackson - on a trajectory to have his music heard by a lot of people

| Indie Band Guru

NEW YORK - Love Is Love (listen to the full album here) is the latest release from Papua New Guinea-born, New Zealand-dwelling songwriter and producer Simon Jackson.

Jackson is a melodic rock specialist with an evocative sound influenced by the Beatles, Elton John, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, Southern and Aussie rock. 

His songs are based around the acoustic guitar and Jackson’s own life experiences here on Planet Earth.

Continue reading "Jackson’s deft poetry on new ‘Love Is Love’ album" »

Stark images of Bougainville’s ‘blood generation’

Gori standing in Buka passage (Taloi Havini & Stuart Miller)
Gori standing in Buka passage (Taloi Havini & Stuart Miller)

| National Gallery of Victoria

MELBOURNE - The National Gallery of Victoria recently acquired three powerful and disarming photographs from the series Blood Generation, 2009–11, by Bougainville-born artist Taloi Havini and Australian photographer Stuart Miller.

This important series is dedicated to the ‘blood generation’ of young men and women born during the bitter and prolonged war between Papua New Guinea and the people of Bougainville (1989–98).

Continue reading "Stark images of Bougainville’s ‘blood generation’" »

Vivid street art of Port Moresby to be showcased in Brisbane

Port Moresby street artBELINDA MACARTNEY | Westender | Edited

Paradise Palette – An Exhibition of Contemporary Art from Papua New Guinea, curated by Don Wotton. Launches on Tuesday 27 August at the Royal Queensland Art Society Gallery, 162 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, running until Monday 16 September. Open daily 9am – 5pm

BRISBANE - I was overwhelmed to see a sign welcoming me ‘home’ at Jacksons Airport in Port Moresby.

After many years’ absence, the urbanscape has changed but the warmth and generosity of its people remains.

When I signed the visitors book at my old primary school as ‘past pupil’ the headmaster beamed broadly.

Continue reading "Vivid street art of Port Moresby to be showcased in Brisbane" »

Airways Hotel

"dark and cool / spreading out under / an old DC3"


Lyrics of a tribute to one of Port Moresby’s favourite hotels, along with
another great six new Simon Jackson songs you can listen to in full here

caught the drillers plane
from Lae
bumping down onto
a white hot
Mosbi runway
still looks just the same
but no one's at the gate

didn't think I'd ever be
coming home again
I get the strangest sense 

past the wires
drooping in heat
think I remember this street
into the

Continue reading "Airways Hotel" »

Black ANZAC: decolonising war history through street art

Hego's mural of World War I Indigenous soldier Alfred Cameron Jnr on a wall in the Sydney suburb of Redfern


SYDNEY - In 2014, large-scale poster artist Hego assembled a 6.5m x 3.5m mural of Aboriginal World War I soldier, Alfred Cameron Jnr, on a wall at ‘The Block’ in Sydney’s Redfern.

Growing up, Hego hadn’t heard of the black ANZACs; Indigenous soldiers who fought abroad in the historic world wars.

Like most Australians, he never learned about these servicemen — those who fought on behalf of a country which, at the time, didn't even fully recognise them as citizens — in school, or elsewhere.

It wasn’t until he came across Cecil Fisher’s 1933 poem titled ‘Black ANZAC’, which describes the lack of recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen that Hego was struck by how little Australia’s First Nation ANZACs been acknowledged in war history. From Fisher's words, Hego found inspiration for his mural.

Hego saw promise in documenting his art and its message and pitched the idea to filmmaker Tim Anastasi who was working with him on a separate street art project. This eventuated into a feature-length documentary that shines a light on the undertold story of Indigenous ANZACs.

Anastasi told NITV he didn’t foresee the success of Black ANZAC originally: “I was just documenting the process, not knowing that it would be such an amazing project at the time,” he says.

Being an independent film, funding was a challenging part of the journey. Both, Anastasi and Hego tirelessly and successfully crowdfunded $10,000, rewarding each supporter with social media shout-outs to private film screenings.

Continue reading "Black ANZAC: decolonising war history through street art" »

Playbook of a songwriter – serial monogamy in a what’s next game

Si Jackson avatar
Simon Jackson - "Not that I fall out of love with a song, just that a new one comes along"


Simon appeared on earth and did his early schooling in Port Moresby (also living in Rabaul and Bougainville) and, later, briefly worked for a mineral resources company in the highlands, which was a learning experience but not one that impressed him. He's now a New Zealand-based internet guru and songwriter (link to his website here). Of consuming interest to me as a journalist, though, Simon not only writes melodies and lyrics for some great songs, he also logs for followers the creative machinations that tussle in the background of the mental processes of musical invention. Here’s his latest communication, which includes a composition he mentions that I particularly like. At present it's an instrumental - no disturbing lyrics, very contemplative, 1950s group The Ventures maybe…. You can also follow Simon on Twitter@si_jackson - KJ

AUCKLAND - It surprises me how finicky I have become. I'm more of a "what's next" guy than "let's keep improving this one". But 'Still Feels Like Home' is different.

I felt there was a note missing in the intro, so I added it, then found another section in the bridge I felt was a bit out of time. It's a matter of listening to myself, being able to feel when I'm reacting to or against something, and fixing it.

I made a bunch of changes to the song most people won't hear: cross fades, the mix in the backing vocals, the timbre of the acoustic guitars.

Funny how small things all add up. I guess I wouldn't bother if I didn't think so much of the song. Working with my daughter was a wonderful surprise.

Continue reading "Playbook of a songwriter – serial monogamy in a what’s next game" »

Musings of a songwriter – never know what’s round the corner

Simon Jackson - "Song writing's a bit like living in PNG; not sure what's round the corner, if anything"


Simon Jackson is a software guru (day job) and a talented songwriter (night job), whose music has come under serious attention for its inspired melodies and moving lyrics. Simon was born in Port Moresby and did his early schooling there and in Rabaul and Bougainville before settling in Australia and then New Zealand. Here he writes of his most recent and highly praised album, ‘Two Thieves’….

AUCKLAND – I'm working on a new album - well two actually, although I'm also in two minds about the piano-based album I was planning, Livin' The Dream’.

I’m not sure why I'm backing off this but I'll probably get around to finishing it at some point.

That’s song writing. A bit like living in Papua New Guinea. Never sure what’s round the corner. If anything.

My recent 'Two Thieves' album is doing OK - mostly streaming on Spotify. It got a good review on 'Indie Band Guru' (below) which I was happy about.

'Two Thieves' is not going to make me rich but I'm pleased I did it. It feels like I achieved something, and I love the music. I probably should promote it more, but I'm busy writing.

Continue reading "Musings of a songwriter – never know what’s round the corner" »

Painter in paradise: William Dobell in New Guinea

Simbu Girl (Dobell  1953)PETER KRANZ

MORRISET - This painting is of a Simbu girl wearing kina shells and with a bilum hanging from her head. It’s dated around 1953 and it is lovely.

It was painted by Sir William Dobell (1899–1970), one of Australia's greatest artists and a Wangi lad (just up the road from Morriset), who spent time painting in Papua New Guinea’s Wahgi valley in 1949 and the early 1950s.

Dobell had been invited there by Sir Edward Hallstrom of Taronga Zoo fame, who had founded an experimental sheep station and bird of paradise sanctuary at Nondugl in the central highlands.

Hallstrom also helped preserve the famous singing dogs and once lectured editor Keith Jackson on the animals of PNG and Africa (although it wasn’t until more than 50 years later that Keith visited Africa for the first time).

The NSW Art Gallery had an exhibition of Dobells works a while back and while it was on I was fortunate enough to be able to introduce Rose and Mana Kuman to the gallery’s director.

Continue reading "Painter in paradise: William Dobell in New Guinea" »

The scintillating & uplifting choral music of Melanesia


MORRISET – When I first went to Papua New Guinea, my pastor Dad gave me one bit of advice.

"Peter you must listen to the church choirs."

And, what do you know, my university-assigned house at Fort Banner was next door to Vincent's, who was the conductor of the local Catholic church choir.

I was able to enjoy hearing them practice every Friday evening.

Continue reading "The scintillating & uplifting choral music of Melanesia" »

Here’s an idea: Imagining a Museum of the Pacific

Chambri mask  middle Sepik
Chambri (middle Sepik) mask from the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. Michael Pascoe comments: "It does a better job of displaying our region's art than anything I've seen [in Australia]"


SAMFORD QLD - Could we dare to imagine that, in 2019, Australia might make a move to establish the world's finest Museum of the Pacific (my working title) on our shores?

This could be a stand-alone entity dedicated solely to the cultures, social mores, artefacts and histories of our region.

Not only would the museum display 'the best of the best', it could be a globally significant research centre as well as a training base for Pacific curators and archivists, not to mention being a temporary holding facility and conservation centre for objects under threat in the region.

This year, the Australian government spent over $100 million on an audio-visual museum in France to commemorate General Monash and Australia's World War I efforts on the Western Front. It was no doubt a worthy contribution to remember great sacrifice.

But how about a Pacific museum in Australia to recall the huge history and prominence of this part of the world? Perhaps $50 million - half the cost of one new RAAF fighter aircraft and a mere drop in the government funding bucket.

Oh, and by the way, a Museum of the Pacific doesn't have to be based in Sydney or Canberra or Melbourne. There are places called Brisbane and Townsville and Cairns which all have closer affinities with the Pacific and its peoples.

Let us dream of what could be....

Christmas’s Past: The best choir in history

Choir of King's College CambridgePETER KRANZ | 25 December 2013

MORRISET - My Dad was a musician. More specifically he was a choirmaster.

We had an old Ferrograph tape recorder and he had some precious recordings that he held in high regard, including the Vienna Boys Choir, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, the LSO Chorus, Mahalia Jackson and Tommy Dorsey and the Golden Gate Quartet.

But the best of them all was the choir of King's College Cambridge. Christmas music for the ages.

We had some Aussie friends around for Christmas in 1969. Dad said, "I'll play you the best choir ever." They laughed.

Then Dad turned the tape recorder on and the first lines of "Once in royal David's city" issued forth from King's. There was silence.

Then cousin Nick said "Did these bastards come from heaven?"

Listen here and weep.

The story of Yothu Yindi drummer, Ben Hakalitz

Ben HakalitzSCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - Nearly half a century ago, when Ben Hakalitz first picked up the drumsticks, little did he know that he would become one of the most travelled Papua New Guinean musicians.

Now 52, Hakalitz is a master of the trade; a drummer whose skills are highly prized and sought after by the industry.

He was born at Angau Hospital in Lae the 1965 to a Morobean mum, Anna, and a Bougainvillean dad, Joseph.

Musical talent ran in the Hakalitz family. As a gifted self-taught guitarist, his dad spent his free time jamming with friends and family. It was in this household that the young Ben grew up.

“I picked up the sticks when I was very young. We used to bang away at mum’s saucepans. Then I started playing in the school band.”

Continue reading "The story of Yothu Yindi drummer, Ben Hakalitz" »

Ecocide – the new rock album to help save the Pacific


AUCKLAND – "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now".

I had this Chinese proverb very much in mind while I was writing the tracks for a new album - Ecocide - which you can get here and also on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon.

Link to the site – every song has a free short sampler that gives you a real good idea of the complete product. So no need to pay up front.

I produced the album because I am very worried about climate change – as I know many of us in the Pacific are - and I want to do whatever I can to raise awareness.

It is a kind of Paul Revere-like scream. ‘Climate Change is Coming!’ But not preachy or condescending. Hopefully the music of Ecocide works for you. If not, let me know.

I produced most of the songs myself to keep costs down. My daughter Madison joined me on 'Planet Plastic' and did a fantastic job and I got a pro singer for 'Dirty Green' because there was just no way I could sing that one.

Continue reading "Ecocide – the new rock album to help save the Pacific" »

Moses Tau: Out of the cage to live a life of joy & giving


NOOSA – The sudden death last week of one of Papua New Guinea’s best known entertainers has both saddened the nation and raised the hot issue of how PNG treats its gay community.

Moses Tau died soon after collapsing at Port Moresby’s Lamana Hotel, triggering an overwhelming response as thousands of messages of condolence inundated the social media.

The Post-Courier newspaper noted perceptively that Tau had “made a place for the gay community in PNG by forcing this place through his music and performances”.

Government minister Justin Tkatchenko wrote on his Facebook page describing the singer as “vibrant and a true showman”.

Continue reading "Moses Tau: Out of the cage to live a life of joy & giving" »

You can help George Telek as he faces major cancer surgery

George Telek
George Telek

DAVID BRIDIE | Wantok Music

MELBOURNE - George Telek, one of Papua New Guinea’s best known musicians, has been diagnosed with cancer of the mouth in Australia after last month travelling to Adelaide and the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane to perform the A Bit Na Ta show.

He had a large growth on his bottom lip and inside his mouth. He was taken to doctors and then to hospital in Brisbane for examination. It was diagnosed with a malignant and aggressive tumour.

George is about to undergo major surgery at Greenslope Private Hospital to remove the cancer. The surgery will involve removing the cancerous growth, removing lymph glands in his neck and reconstructing his mouth.

Due to the nature of the cancer it will also require radiation therapy to remove any remaining cancerous areas.

Continue reading "You can help George Telek as he faces major cancer surgery" »

Girl Power wows as it launches anti-violence video, ‘No More’


STACEY YALO | EMTV News | Pacific Media Watch

PORT MORESBY - Renowned artist Mereani Masani and her all-girl band have launched their first music video, ‘No More’, dedicated to ending domestic violence in Papua New Guinea.

The rare all female group, Girl Power, hopes to empower more women to enter the Papua New Guinea music industry.

Last night the seven-member band - made up of students, mothers and a lecturer - braved the male-dominated industry in PNG to come out and not only sing but raise awareness of social issues affecting women and girls.

They had previously toured Goroka and Madang but this was the first time they had performed in the national capital.

Although sometimes billed as PNG's first all-girl band, there were earlier women groups in Rabaul in the 1960s and 1970s.

Lumai - the design label celebrating Papua New Guinean women

Lookbook image from Lumai’s debut collection (Julia Mage’au Gray)
Design from Lumai’s debut collection (Julia Mage’au Gray)


AUCKLAND - Designer Andrew (Dru) Douglas founded his contemporary womenwear label Lumai late last year and his debut collection reflects his Papua New Guinean heritage with modern Western influences.

Dru grew up in PNG before being selected for a scholarship to study information technology at Otago Polytechnic, a course he finished in 2005 before studying fashion design at Auckland University of Technology, completing his degree in 2014.

He sees his new label as a chance to create something special that is ethical, has cross-cultural appeal and allows him to give back to his community.

FashioNZ caught up with Dru to find out more about his brand, what inspires him and where he sees Lumai heading.

Continue reading "Lumai - the design label celebrating Papua New Guinean women" »

Striking photos of the past & present of Papua New Guinea

Joseph Kayan
Joseph Kayan, a Goroka Show participant from Chimbu Province


See all of Sandro’s wonderful images here

WASHINGTON - Is any place on the planet less familiar to Americans than heavily forested, mountainous, linguistically complex, faraway Papua New Guinea?

The images here document just a few points on the wide spectrum of life in PNG today. At one end is what might be called extravagant tradition. To see that, the photographer Sandro, who’s based in Chicago, went to the Eastern Highlands and attended the Goroka Show.

That’s a three-day festival where people from all over the country showcase their customs. In a makeshift studio Sandro photographed men and women wearing costumes unique to their villages.

This kind of undertaking is not without risk. Anthropologists rightly caution against ethnic stereotyping, and a Papuan elder in feathered regalia doesn’t stand in for the entire population any more than a woman wearing a calico bonnet in Colonial Williamsburg is a typical American.

Continue reading "Striking photos of the past & present of Papua New Guinea" »

Wantok Musik offers great opportunity for a PNG band

Tony Subam
Tony Subam

COOPER-LILY NIKORA | Wantok Musik Foundation

PORT MORESBY - The Wantok Musik Foundation in association with APRA AMCOS has announced the second intake of Tony Subam Fellowship applications for 2018.

The annual fellowship is open to any band in Papua New Guinea with a strong element of cultural expression in its work.

The fellowship was named in honour of the late Tony Subam, former member of the band Sanguma which pioneered the use of traditional PNG music and songs in harmony with western styles.

The winner will be a band or group which the judges believe builds on exporting the sounds and performances Tony Subam achieved with Sanguma and during his association with Foundation until his death on Christmas Day 2011.

The foundation shares Tony’s strong belief that PNG’s traditional songs and sounds are unique to our music and that Papua New Guineans must be proud of their cultural heritage and roots.

Continue reading "Wantok Musik offers great opportunity for a PNG band" »

Sambra Aikit – music blending the traditional with the modern

Sambra AikitCOOPER-LILY NIKORA | Wantok Musik

PORT MORESBY - Sambra Aikit is a contemporary band formed in 2013 by creative arts and music graduates at the University of Papua New Guinea.

In January 2016, the Wantok Musik Foundation launched the inaugural Tony Subam Fellowship, established to honour the late Tony Subam, former member of the prominent PNG band Sanguma

The vibrant Sambra Aikit continues a long legacy of preserving traditional PNG sounds in modern western music and is ecstatic to have received this year’s fellowship.

Sambra Aikit was formed as a collection of like-minded students and it shares musical influences from popular Melanesian bands such as Sanguma, Tumbuna 84, Tambaran Culture, Tribal Chants, and Mosong.

Paying tribute to traditional Papua New Guinean music, Sambra Aikit strives to maintain its cultural roots in sound: intricately weaving Melanesian elements with contemporary music across the four tracks of their debut EP release, Motomse.

Continue reading "Sambra Aikit – music blending the traditional with the modern" »

Trying to solve the mystery of Hal Holman’s wingless fairy

Hal Holman's inscription on the sculptureKEITH JACKSON

LORENGAU – Occasionally I receive an email that truly surprises me, and Friday was one of those times.

Edin Corr, a regular PNG Attitude reader currently in Lorengau, wrote telling of a person from Sori Island off the north coast of Manus who had turned up with a mysterious bronze sculpture.

Edin examined the sculpture and found inscribed the sculptor’s name (right). It was a work of Hal Holman, who died last year leaving a rich legacy of sculpture and painting, much of it part of the modern artistic heritage of Papua New Guinea.

“I was pleasantly surprised to come across this bronze piece by such a renowned artist,” wrote Edin, who then went on to tell me the remarkable story of its discovery.

Continue reading "Trying to solve the mystery of Hal Holman’s wingless fairy" »

Marvellous line-up of performers for Melanesian music festival


BRISBANE - On Sunday 17 September, people from Brisbane's Melanesian communities together with many Australians will celebrate PNG’s anniversary of independence in a music festival at Redlands Performing Arts Centre, about 30 minutes from the centre of Brisbane.

Topping the bill is the brilliant PNG singer and poet George Telek who will perform with Ben Hakalitz (PNG), Charles Maimarosia (Solomons) and Tio (Vanuatu).

On the weekend of the 42nd anniversary of PNG independence, this showcase brings together the most outstanding contemporary and traditional Melanesian music.

George Telek, who has performed in the UK, the US and Germany as well as in our part of the world, headlines the concert, bringing his signature blend of modern and traditional Melanesian rhythms.

Continue reading "Marvellous line-up of performers for Melanesian music festival" »

Caught between two cultures & getting back to my PNG roots

Ngaiire JosephNGAIIRE JOSEPH | The Advertiser (Adelaide)

I HAD a very gritty childhood. My parents are both academics so we were always well off, but we still faced the realities of life in a developing nation.

When I moved to Lismore in NSW with my mother and two younger siblings at age 16 in 2000, I was excited. But I had no idea how long it would take to fit in.

At first it was hard because school here is very cliquey. I wore baggy clothes; I didn’t shave my legs. I quickly realised I looked different to everyone else. Then I found music.

Continue reading "Caught between two cultures & getting back to my PNG roots" »

The bilum – an icon of PNG design, utility, fashion & identity


AS Papua New Guinea celebrated International Women’s Day recently, my attention turned to the important role in our society of those skillfully netted strings bags known as bilums.

No-one knows when that twine was originally twisted and looped to obtain a robust string bag but we do know that its usefulness and beauty has extended forward in time to continue to be of significance even today.

The prominent British anthropological couple, Marilyn and Andrew Strathern, who spent years in the highlands of PNG, thought the bilum was a result of the practice of spirit worship as they observed women looping the string while singing ritual chants.

Continue reading "The bilum – an icon of PNG design, utility, fashion & identity" »

New book on the remarkable life of Owen Stanley's artist

From Eden to Windsor CastleBOB LAWRENCE

From Eden to Windsor Castle - the amazing life of Sir Oswald Brierly by Bob Lawrence, 76 pages, full colour, $30 plus $5 postage and packaging. Benjamin Boyd by Bob Lawrence, second edition, 36 pages, B&W, $20 plus $5 postage and packaging. Available from the author at Or you can order both books for a discounted $45

CAPTAIN Owen Stanley, after whom the fine mountain range just north of Port Moresby is named, made two survey trips into the Torres Strait between 1848 and 1850.

On these voyages, he was accompanied by his official marine artist, Oswald Brierly, and now I have been able to tell his story.

Continue reading "New book on the remarkable life of Owen Stanley's artist" »

The problem with PNG – it's lacking some vital ingredients


I’M busily following along behind Inspector Metau as he brings his latest case to a conclusion in my third book on the inimitable detective’s pursuit of justice and a good life.

(You can download the first two Inspector Metau sagas here.)

The beauty of long-form writing is that it allows time for contemplation and reflection. The process also sparks satellite spot fires all over the place which I can then use to annoy the readers of PNG Attitude.

One of those little fires that has been smouldering for a while is the ongoing failure of Papua New Guinea to register significantly on the Australian consciousness.

Continue reading "The problem with PNG – it's lacking some vital ingredients" »

No 1 Neighbour: 50 years of contemporary PNG art

Simon Gende - No 1 Kiap bilong AustraliaQueensland Art Gallery

FIFTY years of contemporary visual art in Papua New Guinea, with a focus on the country’s relationship with Australia, is explored in a major exhibition opening at the Queensland Art Gallery from 15 October.

No. 1 Neighbour: Art in Papua New Guinea 1966–2016 will delight audiences with bold colour, towering sculptural forms, humour and hauntingly beautiful sounds.

This is the first time the gallery has presented an exhibition of this scale entirely focused on Papua New Guinea.

It draws together some of the earliest works from PNG acquired for the collection, generous gifts from Australians with long-term connections to the young independent nation, and works secured through the gallery’s flagship Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

Continue reading "No 1 Neighbour: 50 years of contemporary PNG art" »

Melanesian artists invited to submit work to Melbourne exhibition


THE curators of an art exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, are urgently looking for Papua New Guinean artists to submit work for the upcoming Sampari Art Show in December.

The submission date is 17 October 2016.

The show, curated and organised by a team of dedicated volunteers from the West Papua Women's Office, is themed 'West Papua' and will feature the art of artists across Melanesia in solidarity with the West Papuan people.

Sampari coordinators in each of the Melanesian nations are working to attract submissions inspired by West Papuans, their geography, cultures, politics, history and environment.

Continue reading "Melanesian artists invited to submit work to Melbourne exhibition" »

Ngaiire Joseph finds her voice on path from PNG to Australian Idol

NgaiireIAIN SHEDDEN | The Australian

SINGER Ngaiire is grateful for music’s therapeutic power. Without it, most likely she would not be where she is today — celebrated as one of Australia’s most promising female vocalists and enjoying rave reviews for her second album, Blastoma, released in June.

Certainly, Papua New Guinea-born Ngaiire Joseph’s prospects of performing in front of 20,000 people, as she did as a guest of producer du jour Flume at Splendour in the Grass in July, would have been remote at best had she not immersed herself in music at a young age.

It was her coping mechanism during a turbulent childhood that included her parents splitting up, and a potentially terminal illness.

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This original Kauage will raise funds for PNG-authored books

Kauage - Elekopta fly antapKEITH JACKSON

AMONGST the possessions left by the late artist and sculptor Hal Holman – which include so many of his own works of art – was one of his own most recent acquisitions, a large canvass by one of Paoua New Guinea’s most famous artists, Mathias Kilage.

At the request of Hal’s wife, Jo Holman, PNG Attitude is pleased to be able to offer this work, Elekopta fly antap (pictured here), for auction to assist provide money for what we’ve named the Holman Book Fund.

There’s information about the auction process below.

The Fund will ensure that Papua New Guinean authors can obtain supplies of their own published books sufficient to sell or to otherwise distribute, thus completing the cycle of getting PNG-authored books to PNG readers.

The painting on offer is a large Kauage acrylic on canvas measuring 116cm square. It is signed ‘Kauage Mathias OBE PNG Artis 2000’.

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Holman Book Fund will get PNG books to PNG readers


IT’S been a while since PNG Attitude asked readers to kick in for a worthwhile cause, but Phil Fitzpatrick came up with a good idea and now Jo Holman, wife of the late Hal Holman, has come up with the means.

The idea, which Phil brought to life in a piece last week, is simple: funds are provided to buy books which are sent to their Papua New Guinean authors to sell, hopefully retaining the proceeds to buy more books.

More PNG authors are stepping up to the plate to publish books, thanks to the CreateSpace innovation which enable free publication.

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Asylum seeker wins cartooning award from Manus camp

Eaten FishHARRY PEARL | Reuters

AN IRANIAN refugee held at an Australian-funded detention centre in Papua New Guinea has won a political cartooning award for his work depicting life inside the camp.

Ali, a 25-year-old whose pen name is Eaten Fish, has chronicled his three-year detention on Manus Island as he struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and debilitating panic attacks.

Under Australia’s hard-line immigration policy, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat is sent for processing to camps on Manus or Nauru in the South Pacific. They are not eligible to be resettled in Australia.

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Clement Koys & me – cultural preservation through art

Clement Koys at workPETER KINJAP

IT WAS a Facebook post that caught my eye. He’d posted two of his latest paintings, this Facebook friend I’d never met in person.

Clement Koys is a talented and down to earth young man with passion and commitment. He’s a lad from Simbu now living in Port Moresby.

Clement’s paintings are attractive and eye-catching. But since I am interested in Papua New Guinea’s cultural heritage and do volunteer work on cultural preservation and promotion, I was particularly intrigued.

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PNG radio announcers Loqie, Didi & Elton release hit single

Loqie, Didi and Elton from 99.5 Rait FMAsia Radio Today

LOQIE, Didi and Elton from Port Moresby-based 99.5 Rait FM have released a song and a video that have gone viral.

The station’s popular breakfast hosts got the idea after Didi found a 10-year old video clip on YouTube of an original song from Loqie and Elton when they were in a band called Scholastic.

The clip had received 22,000 views and the songs had some popularity 10 years earlier.

When Didi played some of the audio on air, and the original clip was shared on the stations Facebook page, listeners suggested they audition for the TV Show Vocal Fusion, PNG’s version of Idol, that was about to run in Port Moresby.

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Painter in Paradise: William Dobell in New Guinea

Dobell and highlandersBOB CLELAND

IN April 1949, William Dobell, the celebrated artist and twice an Archibald Prize winner, visited New Guinea.

He was the guest of Sir Edward (E J) Hallstrom of the Nondugl Experimental Sheep Farm and accompanied by a number of others, including the authors Colin Simpson and Frank Clune.

Carrying with him only basic drawing and painting equipment, Dobell was captivated with what he saw, later commenting to Colin Simpson: “First of all, what appealed to me was the dignity of the people – a  surprising dignity. They had character that I didn’t expect…

“I feel that anything that I have done in the past has been done by some other artist, but these subjects have not been done. I can get something entirely new….”

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Dame Carol Kidu sues over film-makers ‘cinematic liberties’

Dame Carol Kidu (Kian-Yan Law)STEPHEN FITZPATRICK | The Australian

IT sounds like a classic tale: rapacious developers, a Third World shanty town razed to make way for a hotel, and the local MP who stands up for her adopted countrymen and women one last time to fight for their heritage.

Except none of it is true, according to the Australian-born doyenne of Papua New Guinea’s parliament, Carol Kidu, who is suing a Sydney film house she says seriously misrepresented her role in a Port Moresby property stoush.

Worse, she says, the filmmakers secured her involvement in their documentary, as well as Australian government funding for it, under false pretences.

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Wantok Musik Foundation to launch in PNG next month

Wantok Singsing (Wantok Musik)

ON Saturday 9 April, in association with the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery, the Wantok Musik Foundation will be launched in Papua New Guinea with a live concert at the Nora Vagi Brash Amphitheatre.

Wantok Musik Foundation, formed in Melbourne in 2006, records, releases and promotes culturally important music and arts from Melanesia as well as facilitating connections between Indigenous Australia and the Melanesian region.

The aim of the launch is to introduce the foundation and music label to PNG and provide a platform for promoting and preserving PNG cultures through music and the arts within the region and throughout the world.

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The hope that still remains in ‘don’t stop believing’


LATE night radio listening can unhinge even the sternest of iron-clad hearts.

The nocturnal audience across the Land of the Unexpected are plunged to the depths of melancholia then swiftly lurched to the heights of unshakeable assertiveness all in the space of nine minutes.

Disc jockeys are unsparing when exercising their powers as gadflies of emotional tranquillity.

But, whilst international radio stations cue playlists of trending hits and vocal artists, the Papua New Guinean music palette remains transfixed to the echoes of days gone by.

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Wantok Musik announces fellowship for heritage-mix band

 'Tribute to Tony Subam' by Leonard TebegetuDAVID BRIDIE

THE Wantok Musik Foundation, in association with APRA AMCOS, has announced the inaugural Tony Subam Fellowship, which is open to any band in Papua New Guinea that has a strong element of cultural expression in its work.

The fellowship is named in honour of Tony Subam, a former member of the band, Sanguma, which pioneered the use of traditional PNG music and songs in co-harmony with western styles of music.

The winner will be the band or group which the judges believe Tony Subam would have wanted to support.

Tony had a strong belief that what is unique to PNG music is their traditional songs and sounds, that PNG people must be proud of their cultural heritage and roots, and that too much music in contemporary PNG imitated overseas trends.

The recipient of the Tony Subam Fellowship will be awarded a recording session with acclaimed sound engineer and producer Emmanual Muganaua in Port Moresby.

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