Stella Celebrated Its First Year In Style

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I went along last  Saturday when Stella’s birthday party was open to the public. I was there on the Friday afternoon for the birthday reception. In fact I think Saturday, 10th August was the tru tru date of Stella’s debut appearance in 2012. What a magazine, what a journey. I was only too happy to roll up again for a Saturday spent with creative people, immersing myself with the spirit of lovely thoughts and wonderful creative folk.

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Th stalls with some great stuff such as Malolo Prints, Buk Bilong Pikinini and more…

For a K3.00 gate fee there was more fun and activities to spice up the event.

We had a fashion parade…my favourite.

Other favourites of course, dancing by Tribal Breakers, a group of young PNG guys entertaining the crowd. Pretty good.

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…and singing by the wonderfully talented songbirds, the Tau sisters and their brother (children of the iconic PNG pianist and music teacher Buruka Tau).

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The Tau sisters with their brother gracing the birthday celebrations with their angelic voices. What a treat! I like.

There was a bouncy castle too so the kids had their own fun place to wile away the hours and enjoy nature in another part of the city.

Amanda told us that Stella means star, so apt for the Pacific Islands and the magazine has a girl’s name – you can carry it around with you as a friend wherever you go. I like.

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Here’s Amanda with announcements and the day’s programme as well as a little bit more on Stella.

The fashion parade kicked off, after the national anthem and pledge, which I mumbled my way through – shameful, really. I promised myself that I’ll do better next time. The fashion show was a great crowd-pleaser.

We all gathered infront of the stage to witness the showcasing of artistic designs and outfits by PNG and Pacific Islands’ designers. It was awesome. Here are some of my favourites, not only because of the fabrics but the angles at which I was able to take my photos. I felt like a wandering minstrel! I was self-conscious as I walked around trying to get a good shot of the models and beautiful outfits.

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This was my favourite shot of the day. I loved the flow. From Tully Pacific shop in town.

My favourite shot and outfit. In fact I have the exact same dress in a size 12 which I wore to the Kenu & Kundu Fundraising Dinner 2 weeks before.

As I was moving around to take my shots competing with a couple of professionals and my fellow amateurs, I could hear my course instructor saying don’t assume your camera will move on its own, move your body! Yeah man, tried to. I’m glad I did. I had a tough time getting the right angles and am sure I’m not the only one. But I did take some nice shots like the one above.

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Another beautiful outfit by a Pacific Island designer.

All manner of cameras came out of the woodwork including some pretty nifty mobile phones to capture the beauty which shone on stage.

I am so pleased to also see the willingness of young PNG men to take part in the fashion show. Very liberated young men if I may say so. Hey, PNG women are breaking glass ceilings in male-dominated arenas so why not our young men.

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A collage of some of the photos I’ve taken. Too many to post individually on this blog. I might consider posting them on Facebook.

The models kept coming and each outfit was awesome. The young ladies and gentlemen were in the zone. The talent behind these outfits and the prints and designs were amazing. There were casual wear as well as formal and office wear. Some of the outfits were from Samoa and the Cook Islands but most were Papua New Guinean. Great stuff. Loved it.

The Nature Park was just the place to have the fashion-show. The trees in the background, the breeze and freedom were just few of the aspects that enhanced the show.

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A collage of the photos I took. Too many to post them individually. I might consider posting some on Facebook..

Well, all good things come to an end…and soon the fashion show ended with the models walking through the crowd to give all of us a chance to see them and the outfits they were wearing.  What a great idea.

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The models walked through the crowd back to their dressing rooms.

They assembled on the smaller stage for a photo opportunity and that was nice and then walked through the crowd back to the dressing rooms at the back of the stage.

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This was a great photo opportunity but again for some reason I couldn’t find the right angle to be able to get the whole team in.

The models then walked through the crowd again as a grand finale to the fashion show. Well done to the models, the designers and the organizers. Great show.

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Some of the Stella cover girls cutting the yummy birthday cake.

We look forward to celebrating another great year. Wishing you the best.

Port Moresby Stirs…

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Sunrise in Port Moresby is a rarity for me as I live in another part of the city surrounded by flywire – an absolute must to keep the mosquitoes away – and steel bars across the window to deter the urban wildlife with an unsavoury interest and keep bigger critters at bay.

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It’s not everyday that one sees this side of Port Moresby. It’s peaceful, beautiful and you moreorless wake up with the day. That’s what I love most about the tropics.

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I woke up early about 7.00am-ish and these were some shots I took to remind me that amongst the negative publicity surrounding life in Port Moresby, it is still one of the most peaceful and progressive (albeit slow) cities in the South Pacific. 

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I count myself lucky not to have to change my wardrobe with the seasons. This Saturday was one such day when you could venture into the city in a pair of shorts and T-shirt – in fact an all-year-round garb.

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Lunch Yesterday With Raqs

ImageMy friend Raqs and I seldom have lunch together, but when we do, we go to our favourite hotel cafe here in Port Moresby because of their sweets bar…yesterday was no exception.

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Here are a couple of photos of what was on offer yesterday (22nd July, 2013).

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We enjoyed our buffet (international) lunch with lots to share. I was so happy to meet up with one of my best friends for a leisurely lunch and an opportunity to update eachother on our latest news.

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Usually with the buffet lunches one doesn’t really know what to go for especially when one is spoilt for choice. Of course at this cafe, there is always a basket of freshly baked bread rolls.

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An Artistic Marathon To Help Others

Journey Through The Stains - a live performance with iconic visual artists Jeffry Feeger, Ratoos Gary, former Tambaran Band member Pius Wasi, Paul Yabo, former member of the Sanguma Band and fellow musicians and a young PNG poet, Marie-Rose Sau.

I was really privileged to be at the Royal Papua Yacht Club on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd February, 2012 to witness a live performance of the group called ‘Journey Through The Stains’.

The live performance featured  the inimitable Ratoos Gary and Jeffry Feeger visual artists, Pius Wasi and musicians in the tradition of the awesome Sanguma, and of course Marie-Rose, a young PNG a poet whom I wrote about in my blog yesterday.

Pius, Paul and the musicians who were part of the live performance of 'Journey Through The Stains' at the Royal Papua Yacht Club.

Apart from ‘official’ guests, and the usual RPYC suspects, also gathered there were family and friends in support of the artists and the cause. I was there with two of my colleagues. One of them was there as the ‘official photographer’ for the event.

Ratoos in his element. As the picture evolved there was an awed silence as the artist went to work. I thought at first that there were going to be two paintings but as before both Jeffry and Ratoos worked on one with Ratoos laying the foundation and background as seen here.

This event was a fundraiser featuring a number of different things. The live performanc was an event within an event.  One feature was the sponsorship by Bemobile, one of the mobile phone companies in PNG, and another was the combination or brilliant fusion of visual art, music and poetry. We also had raffle draws so it was all a mixture of fun things but also deeply meaningful.

Upon entering the RPYC I almost did not get in because the man at the door was doing his job which means if your name is not on the guest list you’re not welcome. Fortunately, a number of positive factors came into play and I found myself warmly received by a kind young lady who works for Bemobile.

So what and who are ‘Journey Through The Stains’? I’ve taken the following description from their page on Facebook:

 “’Journey Through the Stains’. We are a troupe of performing Papua New Guinean Contemporary artists experimenting with a fusion of traditional and contemporary music, art and culture. Through our heightened artistic sensitivity, coupled with a deep appreciation and understanding of traditional spiritual cultural knowledge we use the creation process to become journeymen through a mystical communion with nature and the spirits. We believe that our collaboration through ceremony provides a way for others to share in our religious experience.”

The objective of the evening’s event, a brainchild of ‘Journey Through The Stains’ was to raise funds for the relatives of those who perished in the recent MV Rabaul Queen tragedy. This was a very noble cause, supported by RPYC and Bemobile – the RPYC as the host and Bemobile came with the goodies for the fundraiser.  

I went along because of the splash on their Facebook page and also because I enjoyed the live performance of the two visual artists at last year’s fundraiser at the Moresby Arts Theatre with Jerry Hensen.

Actually, this kind of live performance is quite unique and you’ll see why when you follow these photos. It’s an evolving kind of spiritual engagement between mind, body and soul.

Ratoos at work laying the foundations with his unmistakable style. His artwork is currently on display at the Australian High Commission with an Australian artist John Gould, to celebrate Australia Week.

On their Facebook page on 22nd February, 2012 was the following entry:

“We are performing   tonight Wed 22nd Feb at the Royal Papua Yacht Club, in what will be a defining moment for us! An opportunity to raise funds for the families of our lost brothers and sisters on the Rabaul Queen ship tragedy. The air will be thick with the creative exchanges of art, music and poetry.”

As soon as it got dark the event began. Quietly and without fanfare, Ratoos started painting. He used his hands and the paint brush. As the music played, the canvas came alive and Ratoos began with his brush strokes and finger ‘etchings’. As his painting took shape I was sure that people must have been wondering where this was leading to. Even the Club patrons who stopped to watch as the painting progressed.

I kind of guessed it was going to be the background first by Ratoos and then Jeffry layering it with his own artistic expression. A similar live performance to the one with Jerry Hensen last July/August.

This was indeed an artistic marathon. Not only did Ratoos and Jeffry initiate and complete the event, the musicians also as the musical tunes accompanied the painting from start to finish – from Ratoos to Jeffry.

An incredible journey through stains and music. It was a kind of magical evening and when the picture began to take shape it reminded us what the live performance was for. The artists took us with them especially as we neared the grand finale.

The painting was completed in a rather dramatic fashion, but appropriate nothetheless, when Jeffry threw down the paintbrush!

The finished painting! Absolutely amazing. You can actually see the paintbrush near the painting. The painting itself was incredible.

That was the end of what was the most unique form of entertainment: a live performance of determined and passionate visual artists at work who by the way looked like they too were enjoying the music, and the positive energy from those who came to witness the live performance.

I call it an ‘artistic marathon’ because the painters and musicians were true to their craft until the end when the painting was completed. Usually an artist will revisit his/her work to tweak bits here and there to get it to perfection in their view. But this was a start to finish in one session. Indeed an artistic marathon.

It was a wonderful evening and I really enjoyed the evolution of artistic prowess in one sitting. This is absolutely amazing. 

The ‘Journey Through The Stains’ troupe brought the arts to the people and the people responded. This unique live performance is the first in PNG and am not sure if this is done anywhere else in the Pacific Region.

A similar artistic marathon happened last year I think about July/August at the Moresby Arts Theatre, as previously mentioned, when Jeffry Feeger, Ratoos Gary, Laben Sakale and Jerry Hensen took to the canvas to raise funds to help Jerry Hensen trek the Kokoda Trail to raise awareness for the blind. The paintings were auctioned as they were finished! It was an amazing event and truly innovative, and out-of-the-box kind of stuff .

The ‘marathon’ live performance concept itself is mind-blowing.

It was truly a memorable evening and live performance. I came away thinking – these guys are not only giants in their art but also great humanitarians. Extraordinary Papua New Guineans sharing their talents for the benefit of other extraordinary Papua New Guineans. They may not think of themselves as ‘extraordinary’ but in my eyes and heart – they truly are, because by their actions, they are in service for mankind. Shouldn’t we all be too?

Boxing Day 2011

Have never seen a butterfly this colour before. The sight of it brought me out of the house with my camera.

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day.  I guess we just took this on as part of the colonial legacy in Papua New Guinea. There are no post-Christmas sales like everywhere else in the Western world. For most, in PNG, it is an extended holiday and especially so if Christmas was celebrated on Sunday or Monday.

A single bright pink bloom

It was a lovely sunny day in Port Moresby but I opted to stay home and just chill out despite the power black out which made any breeze-less day inside my house unbearable.

I looked out the front yard and was so happy at the sight of the lovely zinnias. The front yard was a flush with a myriad of colours, mostly lilac, hot pink and orange. It was a good time to experiment with different settings on my Nikon D90 and I must say I was pleased with the results. I am happy to share them on this post.

A beautiful lilac coloured zinnias. Looks like a windmill.

These flowers attracted the butterfly and a small bee-like insect. There could have been other insects too buzzing around with the odd mosquito which I did not notice as I was too busy trying to take shots of a couple of the zinnias which did not look too wind-swept.

Bee-like insect on the bloom. Took a couple of shots before I caught it on this one to take this close-up shot.

As I walked around my small front yard I could see that although Port Moresby has  33 degree temperatures all year through still anything can grow with very little watering but regularly.

A bright orange zinnias. Beautiful.

Another shot of the butterfly (below). I had to chase it around the garden to be able to take this shot. The tint of blue on its head and part of the wingspan is unbelievable which is not obvious on the first shot I took (the first photo on this post).

Another shot at the butterfly feeding on pollen.

The long power black out on Boxing Day drove me out of the house and onto the front yard and the searing heat however I was compensated with the sight of these beautiful flowers. A power blackout on Boxing Day was unacceptable because we couldn’t heat up food or have the fans on. I hope it doesn’t happen again next Boxing Day. I can only hope.

Lovely blooms but a little battered about with recent heavy rains in the area
The butterfly was almost a different colour every time I tried to take a shot. Here it looks kind of golden.

Next time there is a power black out and I’m home during the day, I ‘ll remember to take my camera and explore other flower gardens in the neighbourhood. Sounds like a pretty good one to include as a New Year’s resolution.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

The Blue And Green Seas of Milne Bay

Navigating through the small islet and Kanakope (on the Ealeba side) en route to the China Straits

Navigating through the smallest islet made up of mangrove trees brought back lots of memories of yester years. We managed to slide through with ease because the tide was fairly high. That’s the only time one can take even a small dinghy with an outboard motor over the rocks below. We made it through and what a relief that was for the kapitan of the boat. The thought of seeing the islands once more got me singing ‘Discover the Island’ one of Salima’s popular songs. There was a Salima fan on board on our visiting team reminding me that I had promised I would sing the song when we powered towards the Straits and Logea Island. Sing, I did! It felt good.

Inviting waters - so tempting to us in the heat of the sun. Crystal clear sea water - what more could we have ask for.

The rest of the journey through the Straits was a truly wonderful experience. I can’t remember all the times I’ve been through the Straits and seeing the islands of Samarai, Kwato, Logea and Ebuma. I realise I could never tire of it. It was truly a magnificient sight to behold. Memories came flooding back. It had been six (6) years since I last visited this part of Milne Bay. The songs I’ve written about these islands mostly romantic notions of these beautiful islands remain year after year and song after song. I could never run out of words to describe these islands and their beauty and mystique continue to be an inspiration as the day I wrote my first serious song, ‘Jewel In My Heart’.

Cruising past the mainland of Papua on our left. What a magnificent sight. The day was bright, blue skies above and we were surrounded by the beautiful emerald islands of southeast Milne Bay.

Our day trip covered Kwato, Doini and Samarai islands. I had never in my life been to Doini Island and this trip was going to be my first ever to the idyllic island. But first we called into Kwato Island. I was amazed at the changes that have taken place here – it was serene and tranquil. Gone was the school and the sounds of children playing and singing. The sounds of boatbuilding and the engines that powered the tools in the B & C building were no more. The big mango trees that surrounded my family’s home ‘Himitana’ have been cut down – now that’s another story but I wont go there.

Well, today was another day in Port Moresby as the leadership struggle continued. As if that was not enough to scare us, Port Moresby and other parts of the country were hit by a strong earthquake tremor that lasted almost a minute – there were two tremors one after the other in quick succession. Our building shook like a leaf and we were forced to evacuate our offices and run down the fire escape and on to the busy road below.

Office work continued as usual but our ears and eyes were wide open beyond our work stations and computers.  The evolving saga continued unabated and the day ended with more uncertainty resulting from the leadership struggle that was taking place in the capital city. The anticipation for the 6 o’clock news and Facebook threads grew as I headed home. Was the day productive? Not really – after the staff meeting in the morning it was a matter of wait and see.

I kept thinking that there’s some nasty stuff going on at the political level here but beyond these events in Port Moresby’s halls of power lie the most captivating and awe-inspiring natural beauty of Papua New Guinea.

Fish and Chips Never Tasted So Good

Best fish and chips plate I've ever laid eyes on...for sure!

Eating at the Hogs Breath Cafe at Vision City yesterday was an impromptu decision.

The last visit was a collective experience far from pleasant so a second visit was not on the cards. We took a big gamble.

A piece of heaven on a fork.

But yesterday I was blown away with the most amazing fish and chips dish, mayo with capers and awesome service.

Many of us have eaten at restaurants or eateries where we vowed never to return because the food was lousy, service was non-existent or slower than watching paint dry and the pictures on the menu did not match the order that gradually arrived at your table.

The curly chips and smooth mayo with capers...yum!

But sometimes convenience can lead one to renege on one’s decisions such as ours yesterday. The batter was nice and thin and crispy. The fish melted in the mouth, literally. This was fish and chips worthy of a long morning of errands and grocery shopping.

Nothing left...not even half a bite.

Fish and chips never tasted so good. The empty plates were evidence enough.

What a delicious end to a Saturday morning Vision City wokabaut.