Caroline never had any children of her own however, while living in Monterey, she mentored many aspiring young female artists. I have had the pleasure of staying in touch with two of these women and today, both are successful teachers and/or artists!
Karen Scott: “I met Caroline Mytinger when I was in college; she was one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. In the ’20’s, Caroline travelled to Melanesia with her friend, Margaret, to paint portraits of people from cultures she considered to be quickly vanishing. No-one sponsored Caroline’s journey, rather she made passage fare by painting commissioned portraits while travelling. Upon her return to the USA, Caroline wrote two books detailing her travels and adventures, and her many portraits were displayed in the American Museum of Natural History. I am sure it was Caroline who inspired me to consider joining the Peace Corps. Still, travelling to Nepal via a US government program as I did, is both far easier and safer than Caroline’s journey by ship with little money, a minimal supply of art materials and a crazy plan to paint people she met along the way.”
Ina Kozel: “As a young woman and aspiring artist, I became quite close to Caroline.” Ina, after many conversations with Caroline, expressed “she wanted no obituary, no funeral, no stone, no to-do. Gone, she said, like a leaf in the wind.” She would be happy to know this film inspires a new generation of artists.
I continue to follow the path of artist, Jeffry Feeger, who not only produces stunning portraits, but encourages both his own sons, as well as other young Papua New Guineans to use art as a form of personal expression and a way to illustrate social issues. Jeffrey recently appeared on Good Morning PNG, a program broadcast by EMTV. With over 4 million viewers, EMTV is the largest television broadcast station in Papua New Guinea.
As an illustration of just how much artistic talent there is in PNG, I recently received my own set of personal pen/ink drawings from Michael Bolokon. The delivery service was generously arranged through the foremost tree kangaroo specialist in the United States, Dr. Lisa Dabek who, through the Woodland Park Zoo, works on the YUS/Tree Kangaroo project. Lisa kept the tree kangaroo drawing – I have the turtle, shark and birds for myself. Michael is now working on a “roo for you” and I hope to see him in the near future to collect this. No doubt, if you look at his art, read Michael’s words and description, you WILL be impressed.
“The designs, when you look closely, represents something in nature. The spirals are the wind and the waves – the triangle arrowheads are the traditional spear in the Highlands regions – the square and repeated patterns are found in the coastal parts of PNG – the flow of the lines are birds feathers and fur of mammals – the vein patterns are found on plant leaves, especially the deciduous or flat leaves with vein structures. Putting the patterns and designs on animals is a combination of how PNG exists through its flora, fauna and culture. Without one – the others fall apart.” Michael Bolokon