10” X 14”
Gouache on Paper
The role of a culturally aware artist carries an important weight which is often overlooked. Papua New Guinea is a country teaming with deeply rich and ancient cultures that bridge a gap between a breathtaking rugged landscape and an unseen spirit world. Meanwhile the polar gap between modern and ancient practices, mindsets and societies remains quite extreme. Therefore the role of a contemporary artist in PNG is rather complex when facing the world’s modern market.
New Guinean artist, Jeffry Feeger, takes on this challenge with aggressive passion, cultural awareness and an active social involvement using an approach which is hard to put into words. His painting performances spread ripples of inspiration through the gathered crowds that watch him magically put fire to the stubble of many causes. I’m continually inspired by his works and acts of advocacy. His fundraising performances and contagious optimism have paved a framework of opportunities which he continues to weave into influential vision, social awareness, and further potential contributions.
Quarter to Twelve is a performance that Feeger, alongside other PNG painters, poets and musicians, has organized as a fundraiser or demonstration for creating awareness regarding current social issues in PNG. Time literally stands still in Port Moresby’s downtown roundabout where the permanently stalled Rotary International clock looms over this passionately expressive scene. I have tried to capture Jeff in the height of this powerful moment. A storm of traditional motifs engulf the strong energy rippling around the artist. His determined forward gaze marks the spark where traditional themes are translated by his contemporized language of Magic Realism. A heart of compassion, both, bleeding and rooted to a rich heritage represented by the boar’s tusk necklace. Buai red lips from stenciling his hand over fellow artist and mentor, Ratoos Haoapa’s hand. Ratoos’ stylized clock, in place of the rotary clock, is pierced by a decorative barbed arrow, casting a shadow, which reads 11:45 across the buai spattered sundial.
To me, Quarter to Twelve, speaks of running out of time. The window for change is slim and will soon be gone. A pertinent thought as PNG’s elections take place in just a few days. A suitable title as PNG’s country continues to be targeted and raped by super power corporations. For the rain forests, the pristine beaches and tribal voices this last quarter must be crammed with hopeful and positive change! Time is running out for PNG and one artist who is doing his part to advocate change is bro Jeffry Feeger.