During the Great Recession, Michele had to put the project down. Things happen for a reason and this departure from finishing the documentary was time to re-evaluate the story. In 2011, Michele was introduced to noted Papua New Guinean artist, Jeffry Feeger. The idea was born to pair Mytinger’s work from the 1920’s with that of Jeffry’s contemporary style and current day subjects – his own people. Talented beyond his years, Jeffry has created 4 acrylics on canvas pieces that were inspired by Caroline and is developing an additional body of work. Jeffry brings Headhunt Revisited full circle by including the local voice of this island nation and continuing Caroline’s dream to raise awareness of cultural change. We see this change through the work of Jeffry as he depicts the contemporary life of Papua New Guineans in the 21st Century. A preview exhibition was held on June 18, 2013 in Port Moresby and in 2016, Jeffry’s last painting for the project was unveiled by the U.S. Ambassador, Catherine Ebert-Gray at a private showing at the Grand Papua Hotel. “Through Siaka’s Eyes” is confirmation that this project is a continuing dialogue how art spans oceans and decades.
While making the comparisons of myself and Caroline Mytinger, I see it as a unique juxtaposition. We are at different times, genders, origins, and social backgrounds. Indeed what remains to link us is simply our love of painting portraiture, a fascination with capturing the human being on canvas.
To honor her work, I decided to choose a similar composition and cast of characters of which she had chosen for her work. It meant I would have to follow a somewhat similar, however different path, in discovering the kinds of people she met on her journey.
I felt it was important to capture a modern contemporary interpretation as opposed to a traditional look, to reflect the nature of our society in its present day – acknowledging that indeed times have changed.
There were a few aspects of Mytinger’s paintings that I could not easily find a modern equivalent for. For example, the bamboo smoking pipe from “Smoke Spello”. Beside your basic cigarette there was nothing seemingly as interesting, so I approached a musician instead whom could play the bamboo as a flute instrument.
My subjects naturally brought their own style and character to the work, which I encouraged. Most notably was 3 year old Titi, whom utterly refused to remove her precious ice block from the grasp of her tiny hands. I allowed for this to be part of what seemed to me important points of contrast in modern day values, desires. From clothing, hair styles, to poses and intimate expressions, they were needed for me to better define each character.
Also quite notably, I selected a muted colour palette, again to contrast with the very bright and vibrant work of Mytinger. Also muted colours to me seemed to evoke a stronger emotional response.
Jeffry Feeger was born June 13, 1983 in Kerema Town. His mother is from Tapaia Village, Malalua District, Gulf Province and father from Stuttgart, Germany. Jeffry grew up in various parts of PNG before settling in Port Moresby where he eventually began to pursue a career in visual art in 2003. Mostly self-taught, Jeffry’s artwork has developed uniquely and leads toward a focus on portraiture painting. Jeffry is often concerned with the intimate presentation of the people he encounters. He enjoys telling the subject’s stories through his work and building bridges between people of different backgrounds, reminding us of our common humanity. The very nature of Jeffry’s portraiture has led to a social advocacy and philanthropic aspect to his work, where he is able to give back through the sales to the subjects of each of his paintings and to various charities and organizations. Some of the organizations Jeffry has supported include Susu Mamas, Buk Bilong Pikinini, The Voice, Friends of POM General Hospital, UN Women, UNHCR, UN Human Rights. Jeffry’s artworks have been exhibit in many local and international art shows and exhibitions.
In “Budding Musician”, the main subject is Rohan, from Milne Bay Province. Rohan is a talented musician and visual artist. He also specializes in doing at-home screen printing and cutting and re-stitching fabric, especially “T” shirts. Rohan also plays a variety of musical instruments, including traditional instruments such as this bamboo flute he is playing.
In “Top Town Friends” this couple run a transit guest house at top town area Alotau, Milne Bay. The man originates from Samarai Island – where Caroline’s painting was done in 1929. He offers tours of the surrounding islands on his boat. He is well recognized for his support of the local tourism industry and for his knowledge of the history and stories that make up Milne Bay.
The painting “Movie Star” features Felix, a man whose parents originated from the Trobriand Islands in Milne Bay Province. Felix grew up in the capital of PNG, Port Moresby. A few years ago he was chosen to star in the German movie “Dschungelkind”, based upon a story of a German girl growing up in PNG. Felix has ever since been interested in the industry, taking up photography and video production locally. He was more than happy to put on a pose for this image.
In “Father and Daughter”, Alan originates from Buka Island in the Autonomous region of Bougainville (previously known as North Solomans). His 3 year old daughter, Titi, is seated upon his lap. In her hands is an ice block (frozen cordial in a plastic cup) which she had refused to let go of. Although Alan is known as an intimating defender on the soccer pitch, one can see his much softer side in the company of his gorgeous little daughter, Titi.