I am away from the blog again, but I want to wish all my followers, readers, family and friends a very Merry Christmas (and if you don’t celebrate Christmas) happy end of 2017. I wish you all a wonderful, spiritual and joyful 2018. Here is one of my favourite musicians, Sona Jobartha with a joyful tune. See you all in 2018. Joycelin
A self-taught artist, this man showed artistic skills as a child by simply drawing fishermen on the sandy beaches in his remote Papua New Guinea village. Years later, he ventured into higher education and became a medical doctor, yet never leaving behind his love of drawing.
Born in 1957 in Loniu Village, on Los Negros Island, in Manus Province, Powesiu Lawes’ art began as drawings in the sand. He recalls that he always enjoyed capturing images of fishermen catching fish on the reef at dawn and later at dusk.
A gifted school student, he quickly accelerated from Primary to Secondary School in Manus Province, during the Australian colonial administration. From his home province, Manus, he was selected into the elite Sogeri Senior High School outside Port Moresby (now PNG Capital) in the early 1970s. He was recognised at each school he attended as a talented artist, actor, sportsman and gifted student whose abilities would enable him to do anything he wanted in the soon-to-be newly independent Papua New Guinea. PNG gained its Independence in September 16, 1975.
At that time, Powesiu was expected to train to become one of PNG’s first airline pilots, but he rejected this path and began medical school. While studying medicine, he produced a collection of work published in his first book of art – Wati Kui: “I always wanted to help people, so medical school was a natural choice and my art and the first book – Wati Kui – was one way to pay my way through my medical training”.
After graduating from medical school, Powesiu Lawes spent some years as the senior medical officer in the PNG Navy. Then he began his private medical practice in Port Moresby. He maintained his art rugby union coaching and stayed closely connected to his beloved Loniu Village, by regularly trips home.
In 2009, he retired from medical practice and returned to Loniu Village where he was elected the Councillor of Loniu, Los Negros’ largest village. The village has its own distinct language and cultural practices and is also known for producing PNG’s educated elite such as PNG’s Supreme Court judges, academics, diplomats, doctors, scientists and lawyers. Powesiu Lawes’ art is one central strategy in keeping Loniu’s cultural practices alive, along with his aim of establishing a Loniu Culture House in the village to teach Loniu’s youth their unique practices.
“Without a good grounding in the tradition of their birth” he said, “many of them will lose their way once they leave the village for the bright lights and temptations of Lae, Port Moresby and beyond. I never did, because of the very grounding I had”.
About art, he said he has tried many different mediums – using brushes, spray painting for murals, and coloured inks; but the result that black ink on white paper gives, is the medium that gives him the greatest satisfaction. He has completed a second book – Wati Kui 2 – and its drawings are currently shown in Redlands Performing Art Centre in Cleveland (Brisbane, Australia). It is part of the Melanesian Wantok Showcase. Here are some of Dr Lawes’ artwork and their stories
The ‘Loniu Files’: Some customs and traditions of the Loniu people
Loniu, like many other societies, has a well-developed set of cultural practices and traits that have provided reference points for Loniu’s cultural, social and spiritual development over hundreds of years. These have contributed to refined sets of knowledge and skills that have sustained and maintained Loniu society. The Loniu Files is a set of shared and understood ideas, idiosyncrasies, beliefs, values, knowledge and language. The substance of these has stood time’s test and cannot be disproven nor proven.
Aspects of Loniu’s culture are respect (u-uie), being sorry (kolumwamwa) and having shame (pulemachi), to whom, for what, and why; clans, their names, their number and the existence and origins of sub clans, along with each clan’s and sub clans’s origin stories and particular practices (reke pwen); in the various fishing methods, by which clans they are owned them, for what fish and whether for private or public consumption; the layout and size of a clan house (haus boi); utterances made by whom, when, where and for what purpose; who can make public speeches, where he sits or stands and why; land and sea uses and how and why, in the case of land or other property, it is given away; stages of custom and traditional practice during or after a death, when a woman is ready to marry, and gets married; and in the case of two or more wives, the use and distribution of land and other property; who is considered a leader and why; who gives advice to and stays with a young girl in her first menstruation, the advice given and why; who speaks in a haus boi during a customary event, gathering or happening, and why; circumcision of young males, the curses (pen) shouted at them by patrilineal relatives (lau-a-niataman, family of father) and why.
These are but a few of Loniu’s cultural traits with many more needing documentation. Efforts are being made to document the Loniu culture and to preserve its language. It is our identity that, because of modern influences and intermarriage, has deteriorated. Because of ignorance of the power of new ideas, practices and attitudes, not recognising these causes early enough, we have failed.
Wealth is always used in very important transactions in Loniu society. Clay pots, wooden bowls, grass skirts, arm bands or waist bands, shell money, dog’s teeth and sometimes cowry shells.
They can be used to reciprocate for a large supply of food given to a husband’s people as bride price or as death payments to a deceased father’s people; again as in reciprocation for previous work done or land used and money or other customary events and obligations, such as in a circumcision ceremony.
A songbird is a bird that produces musical sounds which are like singing, according to the Webster dictionary. If that’s the case then photographer/poet Jenny Campbell is a songbird in my view.
I can confidently say this after listening to her at a lunch table last week in Brisbane, reciting one of her poems about the world we live in.
I share the love of birds with Jenny, but she takes her love for these feathered creatures to another level where she stalks them in the swamps and photographs them – then writes poetry about them. The ‘stalking’ is also called bird-watching. Jenny also writes serious poetry about life, the environment and politics.
I met Jenny a week ago in Brisbane through a dear friend Dr Susan Cochrane, an arts curator and a writer. Jenny is one of many artists participating in the Blue Mountains Garden of Earthly Delights Festival in November. In the Blue Mountains show, she will be featuring her bird photography and poetry. Dr Cochrane is the curator of the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens show marking its 30th anniversary. Another artist participating in the botanic show, is Orly Faya.
Jenny is currently in Brisbane for the QPF2017 Australia Poetry Slam – Queensland Finals. She is one of 20 finalists. Below this story Jenny has kindly allowed me to feature one of her bird photographs and the poem she wrote for this bird – an Australian robin. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Let’s wish Jenny Campbell all the best in the poetry finals this Sunday, ( August 27th) at the Judith Wright Centre, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
Take us to another place where vines entwine the heart correcting misconceptions through the first and final art
Untwine entrenched surrender feel the struggle to betray the very chains that bind us as a Robin says: “G’day.”
Africa is a large continent influenced by different cultures, customs, traditions and ideas, which are often presented or crafted as images. The creative artists in the continent produce wonderful and amazing paintings adored by tourists worldwide.
One of the Ghanaian artists who has made a name for himself is Wisdom Kudowor. Known as a trans-cultural visionary, his work is influenced by the human form as a transformational agent and ancestral wisdom as an aesthetic tool.
Travelling out to exhibitions transformed Kudowor into knowing he could “tackle other things and create something admirable out of them.
“You are a human being first, African second. When I free myself from the trappings of being African, my work became more universal;” he said. His work is available at http://africanartagenda.tumblr.com/
Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist.
Eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in America,] she became one of the wealthiest African American women in the country. Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of beauty and hair products for black women through Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, the successful business she founded. Walker was also known for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker’s lavish estate in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African American community. The Madame Walker Theatre Center opened in Indianapolis in 1927 to continue her legacy. Both of these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
I was doing some studies on stilt houses in Papua New Guinea and came across this very sweet story; an expatriate’s point of view of life in Papua New Guinea. I’m sure this ‘wantok’ (friend) does not mind me re-blogging his story about Karina. I have in the past posted historical images of Tubuserea Village, just outside the capital, Port Moresby.
I first met Karina Parina when I started my new job with Papua New Guinea’s National Library Service in Port Moresby in 1980. She was a shy, softly spoken 21-year old girl from the village of Tubusereia, about an hour’s drive eastwards along the coast from Port Moresby.
My job at the National Library was to arrange training programs for the Papua New Guinean library staff, to enable them to fill the positions that were occupied at the time by sixteen expatriate librarians. As my job involved working with staff across the organisation on an ongoing basis, my first challenge was to learn everyone’s names. I clearly remember my first introduction to Karina because her lovely rhyming name was impossible to forget.
Like most of the other Papua New Guinean staff members she went about the library barefoot. A few of the others wore rubber thongs. In the tropical heat…
Merry Christmas to all my readers, family and friends. Thank you for all your contributions in making this blog special. I wish you all a wonderful 2016. Here is one of my favourite short videos of singing Melanesian children.
Dear Readers of Mondays Finish the Story. I am very sad to re-post the news that Barbara who started and ran the Mondays Finish the Story fiction challenge has passed away last Sunday. I saw the message from the late Barbara’s husband when I visited her page this morning. I wanted to share the news with those of you that enjoy my contribution to this fun 100-150 story-telling exercise – created by Barbara W. Beacham. She also supplied all the pictures.
You have helped sharpened my story-telling skills. I will miss the challenge and your wonderful comments Barbara.
It is with the a sad heart and mind that I let all of the readers of Life In The Foothills know that Barbara who began this a few years back has succumbed to her illnesses and passed away last Sunday. Writing this blog as she dealt with her health issues gave her tremendous pleasure and as she told me many times a purpose to continue and fight the cancer that finally took her.
I shall miss her tremendously as she was my wife, my best friend, and my life’s love. Those that did correspond with her please know you helped her with her fight and added to the pleasure she received as she writing her stories.
To all of you thank you.
I myself do not have the same strength as Barb did at this time. I am in that emotional spot at this time that wants me to run from reality yet it wants me to confront it as well. I know many of you have experienced this as well.
As this will be the final post I ask that no-one reply to this as I will not be monitoring any reply to have it posted. So rather than reply please simply send out a thought or prayer on Barb’s behalf and that will serve a better purpose than a typed message.