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I’ve been in touch with Michele Benoy-Westmorland for over a year now via email about her ‘Headhunt Revisted Project‘ so it was wonderful to finally meet her in person last night at the Art Stret Gallery promotion for her project. It’s been a long project for Michele which began way back in 2005. Amanda Adams from the Art Stret Gallery has written some explanations below so I wont go into detail here, but the project is nearly done now so we’ll be helping Michele out to capture some last footage for her to wrap up her documentary and to prepare for the full exhibition to be displayed here in PNG later this year.

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Besides the amazing fact that the art work was created by a 29 year old Caroline Mytinger who decided to travel to the ‘savage’ lands of the South Pacific in the 1920′s the art work truly stands out as a record of a period that has truly left us. Just glancing through Mytingers work that night I couldn’t help but think that although I recognized the features, the faces the dress and the people in the art work, at the same time they were very different in subtle ways. Some of the intricacies and details in the pictures you just don’t see today anymore and it always amazing to see a part of our country’s history in such a vivid medium.

Michele couldn’t have been a better person to champion Mytinger’s work, her drive and determination to see this through over the years was overwhelmingly obvious as we spoke about her plans for the full exhibition, I think we ended up secretly agreeing that after the documentary we would definitely look into turning Mytinger’s story into a feature film, which of course I want to act in as well.

But Michele summed up the purpose of the exhibition quite beautifully when she said to me that this exhibition was not just about some ‘White Meri’s’ displaying their interpretations of PNG and the Solomon Islands in the 1920′s or her making the documentary, but the fact that someone like Jeffrey Feeger has been able to neatly fit into the project to be able to allow PNG to make an artistic response to Mytinger so that it becomes a two way conversation in creativity and culture rather than a one way act. And right now,  seriously, who better than Jeffry Feeger who’s currently in New York for his ‘Feather’ musical performance.

I look forward to the full exhibition of Mytinger and Feeger’s work.

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‘Introducing the Mytinger Project;  One World, Two Visions’ is our treat for art lovers this week as we offer an exclusive preview of our major art project for 2013 – Amanda Adams – Art Stret Gallery

In 1926, two young women set sail from the United States intent on an incredible adventure that lasted 5 years travelling the Pacific, painting and photographing as they went.  The result, Caroline Mytingers stunning portraits of the people she met were celebrated across the US on her return however they have never been seen here before.

In a unique turn of events Seattle based photographer, Michele Westmorland came across her story and tracked down the original paintings in the Phoebe A Hurst Museum at the University of California.  Caroline’s story inspired her to draw together a specialist team and in 2005 she returned to retrace Caroline’s footsteps around the country and document this extraordinary journey.  Michele has a long history with, and a deep love of Papua New Guinea and gained permission to bring a single set of prints of Caroline’s PNG subjects to Port Moresby.  Several years later, I had the opportunity to meet Michele and the Mytinger Project:  One World, Two Visions was born.

Jeffry Feeger first saw Caroline’s work at Art Stret Gallery in 2011 and became keen to join the team.  His personal passion for capturing the people and life around him found a deep challenge in creating the art conversation that you see a preview of in the next two weeks.

picture by Rae Smith

Tuesday, 18th is a particularly special Art Lovers Club Night as we welcome Michele to the gallery to give us more insight into the extraordinary life and journey of Caroline, with highlights of her documentary conversation of her own expedition while a selection of Jeffry’s pristine portraits sit alongside prints of Caroline’s inspired works.

It creates an art conversation that traverses 90 years, two continents and deeply diverse cultures and is a preview of the full exhibition to be presented later in the year.

Further details are attached and please do feel free to circulate amongst friends.

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