Adding to our growing team members for Headhunt Revisited is script writer for the documentary film, Elle Russ. I met Elle many years ago at a conference and was impressed by her energy – physical and mental. When we sat down, I told her the story of Caroline and Margaret. Her reaction was nothing short of astonishment that these two young women of the 1920s would take on such a dangerous journey to paint portraits. Over the years, Elle has demonstrated her belief in the Headhunt Revisited goals.
A native of downtown Chicago, Elle launched her passion for writing at the world famous The Second City, Chicago where she wrote and performed sketch comedy. After moving to Los Angeles, Elle continued sketch comedy writing as a main company member at the renowned Acme Comedy Theater in Hollywood. Elle eventually broadened her writing horizons to include TV & Film and currently writes within a variety of genres: Drama, comedy, natural history, and documentary.
I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that a good friend of mine, Deborah Kirk, will be writing Headhunt Revisited – the book. Deborah and I have collaborated on many travel stories, including pieces about Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Caribbean, and Mexico. I have admired her work for years and couldn’t think of anyone better to tell Caroline’s story.
Deborah Kirk is a writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently the Editorial Director of Diablo Custom Publishing (DCP), which produces magazines for universities, museums, and many other clients. She has been a senior editor at Scuba Diving magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle, and has written for Travel and Leisure, Rolling Stone, Interview, and many other publications. Deborah has edited books for Rizzoli and the Smithsonian Institution, and has launched and edited Spanish-language magazines in Panama and the Dominican Republic.
Deborah is excited to be contributing to the Mytinger project, which reflects many of her wide-ranging interests: art, exploration, Papua New Guinean culture, biography, and literature. Deborah recently visited Caroline’s home in Monterey and the Monterey Museum of Art to review Caroline’s scrapbooks and familiarize herself with Caroline’s story. Her research has also led to a number of letters that Caroline had written to family members and the discovery of newspaper articles on file at the Cleveland Museum of Art!
I had the pleasure of seeing Jeffry Feeger, a contemporary artist from Papua New Guinea, perform live at Feather in New York this July. It also gave me the opportunity to interview him about the collaboration of Headhunt Revisited and his work in Art Stret Gallery’s “One World – Two Visions” exhibition.
In his own words, Jeffry shares why he believes bringing Caroline’s paintings back into public view is important and how he sees the connection to his beautiful portraits. There are marked differences between Jeffry’s work and Caroline’s – a span of almost 100 years, gender difference and most significant, Caroline was a white American and Jeffry is Papua New Guinean. What they share though, their dedication to documenting the unique culture, creates a conversation that defines time.
How relevant to contemporary Papua New Guinea do you feel the cultural evolution illustrated by the way both artists capture their “heads” is? Do you think the comparison will have historical significance in the future?
Caroline Mytinger, an adventurous artist who traveled to Melanesia to paint the portraits of the indigenous culture of the 1920’s. Caroline returned to the U.S. in 1930 to have her first exhibition in New York of 25 stunning oils. Although there were more exhibition venues for the following 5 years, the Great Depression took its toll on the ability to tell her story. So it has also been with Headhunt Revisited, the years of the Great Recession forced me to put the project on hold.
I am happy to share with you that Headhunt Revisited has new life and new developments!
“One World – Two Visions” is the collaboration with Jeffry Feeger, a Papua New Guinean artist that will give a voice to talented contemporary artists of the remarkable country. So far, Jeffry has created 4 acrylic on canvas pieces that were inspired by Caroline. You can view all 4 pairings here on the Headhunt Revisited site.
On July 11th, I will be traveling to New York to see Jeffry Feeger perform at Feather, a new musical fusing art, music and film. Please join me in the newest leg of Headhunt Revisited journey and “Like” the Facebook page. I will be sharing updates on the progress of the post-production of the documentary film, book and exhibition.