Art and Books
Nora Heysen, Official War Artist in PNG
A recent exhibition was held of the works of Hans and Nora Heysen at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) at Federation Square in Melbourne. Nora Heysen was the daughter of the renowned landscape painter Hans Heysen, and established her own reputation as an artist in war and in peacetime. The exhibition included paintings from her time as a war artist in PNG.
Nora was the first Australian official female war artist, and had been given the task of painting women in the services, firstly in Australia and then nearer the action in New Guinea. She had been told to capture the work of Australian nurses in PNG, but she expanded her task—despite not being near the front as male artists were—to include soldiers going about their business.
She spent seven months painting in PNG, returning to Australia suffering from dermatitis. She continued her painting of the war effort in PNG when back in Australia.
Mining Capitalism: The Relationship Between Corporations and Their Critics
Corporations are among the most powerful institutions of our time, but they are also responsible for a wide range of harmful social and environmental impacts. Consequently, political movements and non-government organisations increasingly contest the risks that corporations pose to people and nature.
Mining Capitalism examines the strategies through which corporations manage their relationships with these critics and adversaries. By focusing on the conflict over the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea, Stuart Kirsch tells the story of a slow-moving environmental disaster and the international network of indigenous peoples, advocacy groups, and lawyers that sought to protect local rivers and rainforests.
Along the way, he analyses how corporations promote their interests by manipulating science and invoking the discourses of sustainability and social responsibility.
Based on two decades of anthropological research, this book is comparative in scope, showing readers how similar dynamics operate in other industries around the world.
University of California Press
University of California Press, USA, 2014; 328 pp, maps & photographs.
Paperback available from UC Press for US$29.95.
Soldiers Without Guns
Film documentary produced by John Kier, Lisa Walker and Will Watson; directed by Will Watson; released in 2019.
In May, the Brisbane Bougainville Community Group (BBCG) hosted a screening of the film documentary, Soldiers Without Guns, at the Chermside Cinemas. There was a full house for this one-off event with many friends of the community attending, including several PNGAA members. BBCG’s Veronica Kirin Henderson introduced the film, encouraging everyone to view potentially difficult scenes in a spirit of compassion and friendship, knowing there could be families from either side of the conflict in the audience. How could we not follow her wise and heartfelt request?
The film was a remarkable piece of cinema; inspired by his own young family, it took director Will Watson thirteen years to make, and included archival footage of the conflict as well as his own remarkable scenes of this beautiful island.
It told the fascinating story of a New Zealand peace-keeping corps who arrived without guns and armed only with guitars and the Maori culture, into the chaos of a war that had been raging for ten years. There had been fourteen previous failed attempts at peace.
The film documents the remarkable work of the soldiers sharing waiata, performing haka, understanding the local culture, listening to the women, and bringing the warring sides together. The peace created has lasted until now, leading up to the referendum for Bougainvilleans to say if they wish to be independent from PNG.
Following the reflective mood left by the film, there was a totally uplifting live performance by the young women of the Brisbane Bougainville Dancers. The resilient, positive nature of the people of Bougainville is nowhere more evident than in these proud young women!
If you missed seeing the film, there is a 1-min/30-sec trailer at https://vimeo.com/user60313969
PNGAA thanks Graeme Golden for the kind donation of his books, Images of Old Samarai and Yarns from the South Seas, as auction fundraisers at PNGAA events.
Images of Old Samarai
This book of eighty pages paints a pictorial and written history of the island of Samarai, in the Milne Bay District of Papua New Guinea. It records the time of that country’s annexation as British New Guinea in 1888, through its era as an Australian Mandated Territory, until the Battle of Milne Bay in 1942–3.
Samarai was British New Guinea’s second most important administrative and commercial centre in its early days, based primarily on its location in the China Straits and as a direct shipping route from Australia.
In the face of the Japanese advance south towards Australia, it was evacuated in 1941 and destroyed by the Allies in 1942, to prevent it falling into the hands of the Japanese forces. It follows that all that remains of its physical features are prewar photographs and the fading recollections of a few residents prior to 1942.
The book contains more than 140 photographs of Samarai and its environs taken prior to 1940. Nearly all of the photographs are from family collections and have not previously been published.
Yarns from the South Seas
This book consists of a series of short stories from Australia and the Pacific Islands set in the colonial era.
Whilst the principal characters and their stories are fictional, locations and their historical settings are real, in the hope that the yarns may provide the reader with a glimpse into a period of time when life could be hard and sometimes dangerous, but where on occasions the impact of differing cultures could give rise to events of good humour. The reader is urged to pardon the author’s occasional lapse into terminology or expressions rarely experienced in today’s vocabulary, but considered worthy of preservation.
Description of books taken from Blurb Books website
Laurie Bragge Collection
On 22 May 2019 there was a launch of the Laurie Bragge collection at the Cairns campus of James Cook University (JCU). This extraordinary collection was donated to JCU by Laurie and is in two connected parts: 600 material culture artefacts collected during the time Laurie was in PNG, and the extensive personal library he amassed containing various resources, which he used extensively when writing his multi-volume history of the Sepik.
Laurie also donated a copy of his seven-volume history of the Sepik to the PNGAA Collection, for which the PNGAA extends its grateful appreciation.
An extended article on Laurie and the collection will be in the December edition of Una Voce.