Next month is going to be big for me on many personal levels! I have been invited to join a group of very special ladies for a visit to the Solomon Islands. Thank you to Susan Bejeckian and the leaders of the Tourism Solomons!
Tanya Burnett was recently inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame and I’m proud to call her a “sister” in the organization. Tanya is a respected photographer/writer and knows the islands well from her popular dive tours.
We will also be joined by Nicole Helgason of Reef Builders who is also a noted author. Charlotte Bailey is Social Media Manager of Girls that Scuba and based in London. One day of this special journey to explore dive locations at Uepi, Munda and Tulagi takes place on my birthday. Yes, the big 70 on July 20th.
What is much more important is I would like to honor and celebrate those who appeared in the Headhunt Revisited film. Just a couple of months ago, I received word that the eldest son of Maike appearing in Caroline’s beautiful painting titled “Marovo Lagoon Family” is deceased. Ujjiah Sotutu Maika, passed away not long after we filmed him. Ujjiah shall not be forgotten. Here is a clip from the film with him and his younger brother, Terry. Check out the video of descendants where Ujjiah and Terry appear at the end. Montage_Descendants
Caroline’s 1928 painting included their father and grandparents. I hope that I meet Terry and his family while on this very special trip. To give you an idea of what Marovo Lagoon and Seghi looked like while Caroline and Margaret were on their expedition, below is the magnificent painting and photos from the scrapbook showing what Seghe/Marovo Lagoon was like over 90 years ago.
There is another very special gentleman who graciously appeared in Headhunt Revisited. John Wayne (yes that is his given name) is a renowned carver. John is a true artist when it comes to traditional, contemporary and extremely intricate wood carvings. I have several pieces on my shelf and several depict the rich marine life of the Solomon Islands.
John told many stories of his great, great grandfather, Kanijama, who was a proud warrior. “Times have changed.” John explained. The culture changed with Christianity and colonialism and John is keeping his rich heritage alive via art and storytelling. I have hope that I will once again see John and bring another of his beautiful carvings home to add to my collection.
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
As we move toward the Christian celebration of Easter, the Jewish Eight Days of Passover, and the Buddhist New Year, I have been saddened by the terrible damage to one of the most iconic structures on the planet – Notre Dame.
As I was editing my last photo trip to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, I had Meet The Press Daily on with Chuck Todd. A statement made by Chuck struck me. “The future of the past is not guaranteed.” and the thoughts of this statement swirled in both sadness – and understanding. I looked back at the images from Sri Lanka, more particularly George and my ascent to the top of Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock). Sri Lanka is a multi-cultural island nation with the predominant religion being Buddhism followed by Hinduism, Muslim and Christian.
Those of you who have made the 1200 step journey celebrate this accomplishment in many ways with most identifying the physical demands to reach the top as number one. I had to think about it. Yes – was I thrilled to climb 660 feet up the steps on the shear face of this massive natural structure? Of course. But once at the top, I took in the view of the forests below that harbor some incredible animals. In addition to soaking the view in, I learned from our wonderful guide, Marlon, the history of this national treasure and World Heritage Site. Why did I quote Chuck? It reminded me that with everything currently happening on this planet, it is important to revere past cultures, history, and places of worship – architectural wonders of the world.
It is the experience of climbing Sigiriya that cemented the fact that nothing is guaranteed – unless we make it happen. As with the paintings by Caroline, there is a history of the Melanesian people through her portraits. In a review by the American Museum of Natural History while the very first exhibition of the Mytinger Collection in the New York Herald, 1930, it was said:
“Experts of the AMNH have judged her canvases to be such authentic representations that they placed the pictures on exhibit in the museum last month. Glowing with rich hues, vigorously and surely modeled, these paintings reveal, as no flat black and white photographs could, the actual gradations in the color of hair, eyes and skin of the various South Sea Island tribes, the muscular contours, the characteristic facial expressions of the different types and the vividness of their decorations and natural backgrounds. For this reason alone, quite aside from their artistic merit, they are extremely valuable records – and records quite likely to be unique.”
From the team at Headhunt Revisited, we wish you a Happy Easter, a Joyous and Kosher Passover, and Buddhist New Year on the first full moon in April.
Did you know that Caroline’s journey to Melanesia was written in her book as the “Expotition”? I loved the reference in Caroline’s 2 published books. So what was the meaning when author A. A. Milne so brilliantly told a whimsical story of a teddy bear on adventures?
“Pooh tells Rabbit about the Expotition (which he says is a sort of boat, which might not be exactly right, but we shall have to wait and see), and about the fact that they are going to discover a Pole, or it might have been a Mole.” Chapter 8 by A.A. Milne
Caroline and Margaret spent 3 birthdays away on their “expotition” and on several supply vessels, which were sort of boats with no luxury other than the cockroaches chewing on the cuticles of their toenails as their pedicure. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAROLINE! Born on March 6, 1897, she was destined to be the adventurous woman she always wanted to be.
Not only did she and her pal Margaret venture from one location to the next via boat, they also traveled by foot, by canoe and even by horseback. Invited to stay at some early 20th Century plantations, they were generally gazed at by the male owners with questionable doubt. Where am I going with this? Not only as a birthday celebration but it’s WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH.
Caroline & Margaret in the Solomon Islands, circa 1927.
Excerpt from Headhunting in the Solomon Islands:
“It made us weary to have to do it, but there did not seem to be any other way out.The Expotition, an independent female expedition, had to let a man help. We had spent two days carefully snubbing and another day trying unsuccessfully to unsnub at the village when the Planter came to dinner. He listened and laughed and said he knew all the answers. He could get us a model in five minutes, God bless him, if we would meet him at the village not a minute later then six-thirty in the morning. We were to wear skirts instead of slacks so that there would be no doubt about our gender and we were to tether Friday with the horses some distance from the village, for the villagers were afraid of horses. But why tether Friday? And when the Planter explained, I didn’t see why we couldn’t go on from there alone after all.”
I’m also headed to chilley New York City to a sold out screening hosted by Wings WorldQuest, an organization that celebrates women of science and exploration. I had the esteemed pleasure of carrying their first flag on expedition when the organization was founded.
Watch for upcoming announcements as the word spreads for the film! Also, new items will start appearing on the website for your shopping pleasure. If you don’t have your personal copy of the film, order yours soon. I will be traveling on assignment and don’t want you to have to wait for delivery. Just go to “shop” on this website.
I fell in love!!! It was all quite magical and although he is a furry creature, his species is extremely connected to Papua New Guinea culture, the rainforests, and is endangered. So what does this have to do with my story told in the documentary film? It’s all about bringing attention to Melanesia with the diversity, both human and creatures.
I was honored to spend the afternoon with friends, Dr. Lisa Dabek and Penny LeGate. Lisa is an expert in tree kangaroos and is heavily involved with the protection of the endangered Matschie’s of the Huon Peninsula. Penny, as a noted journalist, traveled with Lisa on an expedition for conservation last spring. Check out Penny’s reporting here on Seattle Channel. At lunch, we talked about our love and passion for this beautiful country.
I’m sure you’re curious as to the fur ball I fell in love with. Introducing Ecki, the newest addition to the family at Woodland Park Zoo. This little joey is too cute for words.
It was cold, and snow still scattered about the grounds of the zoo, but we were delighted to be the guests of zoo-keepers, Beth Carlyle-Askew and Tamlyn Sapp, and allowed into the warm, cozy compound. Elanna, the mother, was calm and doing her mom job, while the father, Rocket, was peering through the screen from a separate space. I could see Elanna’s pouch was big and round. Then out came a little nose followed by Ecki’s beautiful face. I didn’t care if it was a challenging portrait to get. Just being there was enough!
Penny LeGate, Beth Carlyle-Askew, Tamlyn Sapp and Michele! Thank you, Lisa Dabek! You should have been in the photo.
To learn more about these amazing marsupials, click on this link for About Tree Kangaroos.
Woodland Park Zoo and the work of Lisa Dabek to protect and study Matschie’s is and has been a big focus to stabilize and protect the environment. PBS covered the expedition on their Nature Now story in December. Here is a bonus!!! A 10 minute video from the project “A Life Among the Clouds”.
Now it’s back to art and the role it plays in any society. When it comes to creativity and storytelling, few showcase it better than Melanesians. A young artist, Michael Bolokon, creates many portraits of animals, especially tree kangaroos and birds of paradise, in pencil sketches. His detail is absolutely stunning.
Although this is a bit of a diversion from the story of Caroline and Margaret’s epic adventure in the 1920s, the connection of art, animals and humanity run strong.
As I write this newsletter, I’m reflecting on the incredible visit in Papua New Guinea last month. My husband, George, joined me on a magical trip to spend time with some of our dearest friends in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. Walidini Resort and the M/V FeBrina hosted us to celebrate the completion and release of the film they have intimately been a part of. It was time to laugh, remember – and just blow some bubbles in this pristine bay and out at the Witu Islands.
What was an absolute delight was to show the film to guests at the resort, then on board FeBrina. A new audience now hearing the story of Caroline and Margaret for the first time. As we watched, the staff and crew were busy making sure all the guests were happy and while this was going on, many crew members kept trying to get little peeks of what was shown on the screen. It was the following day that I learned from Josie Waiai, the crew came to have their own personal viewing of Headhunt Revisited and the comments relayed touched me and reminded me why I produced this film.
“It was an eye opening film to everyone about our country and the different cultures. Caroline captured many different stories of people and places in Melanesia. Breathtaking artwork she captured on her journey and are very admirable. What it taught us is to look at the present and future and to know the past. These two brave women took great risk each day to discover and capture our unique cultures in paintings . And today you are our Caroline with a good heart and strong. You capture your portraits of our culture in a different way – through photography.”
From Isako Feka in Port Moresby: Isako has been a dear friend and provided help during lectures, events and at the premiere in the capital city. She now has her own bamboo USB with the film. At a recent gathering of lady friends, Isako got back to me with comments.
One of the ladies, whose family roots come from Western Province and includes the Fly River Territory, said that she never knew how her people dressed 100 years ago. The painting of “Taupaurapi” and the historic footage was very important in addition to her surprise and approval of the journey Caroline and Margaret achieved. Isako added, “You would be my Oscar winner for doing all this research and producing this movie for the Melanesian people to appreciate their cultural heritage.”
My personal dream is to have the film available to many more in the communities of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
But now is the time to make the film available to YOU! As I said in the last newsletter, we were preparing the SHOP page on the website. It’s ready for orders via PayPal, which has an option to use a credit card. If you live in Australia, you won’t have to pay for long distance shipping. We have a limited supply of each of the formats with friend/supporter, Lynne Ainsworth. More lovely items will be added for your shopping pleasure in the near future.
All profits from sales of products goes directly to Mytinger Project, LLC to pay existing debt and future costs of screenings and other events. If you are interested in hosting a screening, just contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requests for screenings and film products in an institutional/educational facility will be directed to Documentary Educational Resources.
How can I express my excitement and gratitude for the three screenings last month! It has been extremely rewarding to bring the film out in public venues. In the last newsletter I mentioned that SIFF, here in my home town of Seattle, is generating more conversation about the story. There have been so many positive comments, but I would like share what a fellow photographer, Art Wolfe, had to say. Many of you are most likely familiar with Art’s incredible photography, probably some of the most published in the world. Art’s body of work spans the world of nature to fascinating culture. His creativity in Human Canvas is one of my personal favorites. See for yourself at www.artwolfe.com
“The documentary film Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas, and Camera is the story of two women: the first was Caroline Mytinger, a gifted artist and explorer from the early part of the last century, and the second is Michele Westmorland, a modern photographer and great documentarian who discovered Caroline’s story and brought her and her artwork back from anonymity. A society portraitist, Mytinger traveled to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1926 to paint the region’s indigenous peoples.
With a gift of one of Mytinger’s books from the 1940s, Westmorland was propelled on a journey following the artist’s years in Melanesia. She has chronicled this amazing story by effectively marrying historical and contemporary photos with modern day interviews and footage. Westmorland’s intrepidness matches that of her subject to bring to life an important, long-forgotten story, and her work as a photographer and filmmaker is impressive and emotionally fulfilling.” – Art Wolfe
Equally as important to have my peers in the photo industry, are two testimonials that touched my heart. These came from Papua New Guinean women who now reside in the United States. Thank you, Wendy Urbin and Brenda Tia, for sharing the love of PNG. My hope is to spread the word about just how incredible all of Melanesia is.
“It was an honor to have met you at this very special occasion. I am very blessed and thankful that it worked out for my husband and I to attend. Yes, I have also been emotional and touched by your love for the people of Melanesia which speaks a lot in this historical film that you’ve spearheaded. I greatly appreciate you reaching out to me and this is such a very special and memorable time that I will never forget! Tenkyu tru, susa lewa!”
Also pictured here is Nancy Board. She’s been a fan and supporter of the project since its inception.
“I wanted to say many thanks for the movie. It introduces Papua New Guinea, my home country, and Melanesia as a part of the world that other people never knew about. When I first arrived in the United States, people didn’t know where PNG is located and would ask where it is. I replied that is north of Australia and when in school or at my workplace, I would show them on the world map. Headhunt Revisited is a fantastic and educational film. It brought tears to my eyes when thinking of the lifestyles in my country of origin and now here in the States. We all take things for granted while my people back home come into a global world. Art and culture is important to any society and should be kept going and appreciated.” — Brenda Tia
The Explorers Club in New York City was my next location. Headquarters for the prestigious organization is an 8-story brownstone filled with important artefacts and documentation going back to 1904. I carried the EC Flag #46 on the expedition to film the project. I loved the engagement from the audience, with so many wonderful remarks and questions after the screening. One of the most memorable moments was meeting Robert Rose of Raw Travel TV. I became engaged with his style of programing, which is not just about adrenaline rushes or posh resorts – it’s about culture and people being treated with respect. We have communicated over the past 2 years so but meeting him in person was a treat. Robert is just as real and caring as he is on his show. You can read Robert’s comments by clicking on his blog post HERE.
Nancy Rosenthal is an Executive Producer of HHR, a member of Explorers Club and the founder of New York Wild Film Festival. I highly recommend you checking out the website for the dates and screenings of some amazing films that will be featured in February, 2019.
Beautiful Monterey was the most recent location of my screenings. I had the chance to go back into the Monterey Museum of Art to photograph additional content from Caroline’s scrapbooks, and to have lunch with the new owner of her chalet on Via Gayuba. Rosemary Kennett is determined to keep the history of this home alive and documented. To sit and have lunch in the very garden Caroline tended to during her 40 years of residence was very charming. Thank you, Rosemary, for taking interest in the history of one of Monterey’s stellar artists.
James E. Fitzgerald (1899-1971), The Studio September 1933, watercolor on paper, 17 x 22 1/4 in., reproduced with permission of The James Fitzgerald Legacy, Monhegan Museum of Art & History. Caroline bought the home from Fitzgerald in 1942.
Now that I’m home by my very own cozy fireplace, know that I’m thankful at this time of year for meeting so many wonderful new fans of Headhunt Revisited! May you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving this season. If you, or an organization you are affiliated with, is interested in screening Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera, please email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m extremely busy preparing for upcoming screenings during the month of October. It’s a very exciting time but before I list the locations, please read the testimonial below from Cris Kennedy of the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra, Australia. He kindly wrote this after the film was presented at the Arc Cinema on July 27th. I wish to thank everyone responsible for putting this event together.
We screened HEADHUNT REVISITED to a very enthusiastic crowd at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, Australia, in July of 2018. The audience response was very strong – both to the ethnographic and historical content, but also to the warmth of spirit in Michele Westmorland’s filmmaking. Canberra is a town of academics and of people who have worked or have family ties in the pacific countries Westmorland’s camera visits and the story of these independent young American women surviving on their artistic skills across the Pacific frontier touched many.
Here in the United States, there are 3 locations that will be my extreme pleasure to attend and give a Q&A following the screening.
On October 10th, it will be my great pleasure to have the documentary film screened here in my home – the Seattle area. The evening will begin with a small reception hosted by David Hohimer of Hohimer Wealth Management Group at 6:30 PM followed by the film debut at 7:00 PM. You can purchase your ticket through SIFF ticketing and map the location by following this link: SIFF-HeadhuntRevisited. The film center is a state-of-the-art 90 seat jewel box cinema that will provide the best in projection and sound.
New York City
October 18th at the Explorers Club Headquarters, 46 East 70th Street in New York. The evening begins with a reception at 6:00 PM, the screening at 7:00 PM followed by a Q&A. I’ve been a Fellow National since 1995 of this prestigious organization and it will be my honor to screen my film at the historic headquarters. It was Flag #46 that was proudly carried on the expedition. It’s been a long but incredible journey to tell this story, so please join me in the beautiful headquarters! For information and tickets, just follow this link: Screening_ExplorersClub
Monterey is the beautiful city where Caroline lived the last 40 years of her life. I’m pleased to be able to share the film with the community. The day is sponsored by the Monterey Museum of Art with a Filmmaker Talk on October 24th from 2:00 – 3:00 PM at La Mirada Educational Center and the screening at the MIIS Irvine Auditorium beginning at 6:30 PM. For information and ticketing, follow these links.
MMA_Talk at La Mirada
MMA is where I began the research. One of the most remarkable items in their collection is the mural that was displayed above Caroline’s picture window in her quaint chalet in Monterey.
Interested in hosting a screening for your friends or organization? Email me at email@example.com
|The documentary, Headhunt Revisited, follows Caroline Mytinger’s unprecedented journey to paint the diverse culture of Melanesia in 1926. Over 80 years later Caroline’s story inspires new generations of artists and non-artists alike about the importance of documenting culture and tradition.|
CONGRATULATIONS to Sandy Jeglum. I don’t know how to put this all in words that express both my excitement for Sandy, and sadness that she is leaving Seattle. The great news is that it’s not forever – it’s for an amazing new journey she will be taking! As you all know, Sandy has worked with me for some 15 years starting in the production work and managing my photo business. When the film began its journey in post-production, this is where I watched her passion and talent blossom in documentary film production. As Producer and Editor of not only Headhunt Revisited, but her involvement in other admirable films, I am thrilled to announce her acceptance to UWE Bristol (University of the West of England). This prestigious Masters degree program has been co-designed by UWE academics and producers, directors and production managers from documentary and factual units within the BBC. Although I feel like my right hand is missing, I can’t wait to hear of her success in the program and her future in film. I have no doubt Sandy will reach her goals. Please share my joy and well wishes to Sandy for her new journey ahead.
During the month of July, there were two events that shared the story of Caroline, Margaret, Jeffry and the power of art to communicate. The most heartwarming was the gift of 5 of Caroline’s Solomon Island paintings to the museum in Honiara. The presentation was at a function held by the MACFEST organizers and the presenters were U.S. Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray and Consular Agent, Keithie Saunders.
The event took place on Solomon Island’s Independence Day. The press representatives were there to cover the event, leading journalist Charles Kadamana, followed by an article in the Solomon Star News. The handover was well received by Assistant Curator, Julie Fakai’a and Dennis Marita, Director of Culture. Dennis gave a brief speech to thank the U.S. Embassy and the Mytinger Project for “dedicating these very special prints to the gallery – to preserve the cultural era they were painted in and also to educate the young viewers of today”.
On July 27th, a screening was held at the National Film and Sound Archives in Canberra, Australia. My sincere thanks to Lynne Ainsworth for making the arrangements with NFSA and the introduction before the screening. I also wish to thank Cris Kennedy, Manager of Education and Engagement and Charrisa Wright, Assistant Technical Officer, who made it possible for the film to be shown at the Arc Theatre in all its glory with full surround sound and projection. Rae Smart, Producer/Australia from Noosa, made the drive to be in attendance. Here was the catch! I had to be available for a Q&A Skype call at 3:00 AM. Let’s say I did not sleep that night but was happy to be a part of the event.
Do you know you can stream the film for 48 hours for only $5.95? Documentary Educational Resources provides it for home viewing HERE. You can also purchase your personal DVD through their website.
PS: If you or anyone you know are interested in assisting with text editing for newsletter and social media and help spreading the word, let me know. I don’t work so well with my left hand.
Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera is proud to announce the screening of this documentary film at MACFEST! The first two weeks of July will be of celebration and honor for the countries that make up one of the most beautiful and diverse parts of the world!
“Helo olgeta frens and wantoks from Melanesia and the rest of the World. It is an honour, as Chair of the Melanesian Arts Festival National Organising Committee Andrew Nihopara, Chair of MACFEST.
(MACFNOC) for the 6th Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival (MACFEST) to warmly welcome you to our shores for a unique experience in sharing and discovering of our diverse Melanesian cultures. Solomon Islands is very proud and profoundly honoured to be hosting this prestigious event from the 1st to 10th July 2018, and we hope that you will be part of this exciting event. The theme of the 6th MACFEST “Past Recollections; Future Connections”, reinforces the significance of this festival as a time to reminisce on our history and cultures, whilst at the same time connecting ourselves as one people in diversity for a brighter connected future.” Andrew Nihopara
Attending this festival is our own Jeffry Feeger, who appears in the film and continues to be an advocate for contemporary art in Melanesia.
“As I said in the film, a culture, especially contemporary culture, is always fleeting. It’s always running away from you, escaping you. At MACFEST, we will spend the time to reflect on our traditions through art and through music. From this, we will move forward to inspire creativity in a globally changing world.”
I’m sad that I will not be able to attend this incredible event. The countries that make up Melanesia are Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. They will be represented in dance, song and art. I just can’t imagine how wonderful the experience will be for all the attendees. Check out the Schedule of Events HERE. So many activities, so much fun and so many diverse people!