1. Sayu playing in the forest with a toy bow and arrow, 1981. At close range, he would often shoot at grasshoppers or butterflies.
2. Sayu showing us a grasshopper he has shot with his bow and arrow, 1981
3. Sayu’s mother, Boyl, 1981
4. Sayu’s father, Salip, 1981
5. Sayu as a young man, 1998
6. Sayu as a young man, 1998. For fun, he is wearing a sticker on his cheek.
7. Sayu arranges his feather headdress in preparation for his dance
8. Sayu dances in traditional costume at Kotie Masam, 1998
9. Sayu rests at dawn outside Kotie Masam after his dance is finished, 1998
10. The town of Kiunga from the air, 1998
11. Kiunga – a supply depot, mining town, and “muddy gateway to the modern world.”
12. A trade store and car in Kiunga, 1998
13. A man gazes at trade goods in a large store, Kiunga, 1998
14. Didiga and Sayu, ready for dinner (which they have just cooked) at our kitchen table
15. Didiga, 1998.
16. Traditional costuming at a remote village, 1998: senior man in a red bird-of-paradise headdress.
17. Traditional costuming at a remote village, 1998: Kuma, a young man in a red bird-of-paradise headdress, holding bow and arrows.
18. Traditional costuming at a remote village, 1998: young boy painted in red
19. Hybrid costuming at remote village, 1998: man with black face paint and a white patterned shirt
20. Hybrid costuming at a remote village, 1998: woman with “red bird-of-paradise” face paint and a black bra
21. Hybrid costuming at a remote village, 1998: two women blend modern and traditional styles of dress
22. Modern costuming at remote village, 1998: man with a sports jersey and plastic flowered headdress
23. Modern costuming at remote village, 1998: boy wearing a new type of flowered headdress
24. Hybrid costuming at remote village, 1998: two women from Gasumi Corners in dresses and wearing jewelry.
25. Male initiation at Yulabi, 1998: traditional dancing
26. String-band singing in Gasumi Corners: (Left to right) Harfay, Huwa, Howe, Damya
27. Opening of the Independence Day ceremonies: A man in a neo-traditional costume raises the Papua New Guinea flag, with school children lined up behind
28. Opening of the Independence Day ceremonies: A man and woman in neo-traditional dress hold a sign for their group, with a man in a white T-shirt between them. The words on the man’s T-shirt read: “Compulsive, Antisocial, Manic Depressive, Paranoid, but Basically Happy”
29. Independence Day “dramas,” 1998: men dressed in traditional costumes begin a skit that makes fun of traditional customs
30. Man dressed in a traditional costume plays in a skit that makes fun of chopping with a stone axe. Independence Day “dramas,” 1998.
31. Men from Gasumi Corners enact a farce of a traditional sorcery inquest: Damywa, who plays the spirit medium, leans over the “dead man,” Mata, who has a large fake phallus and testicles strapped to his waist.
32. Men from Gasumi Corners enact a farce of a traditional sorcery inquest: Kawuk (left) is tied to a stake by his inquisitioners
33. Villagers enact a skit of colonial first contact: an “Australian” patrol officer aims a rifle to subdue traditional warriors
34. A Christian skit of the Second Coming at the Nomad “dramas” for Independence Day. Jesus, in a white crown, is flanked by the Angel Gabriel (just to his right, holding a trumpet). To the right, maidens who have been singing and dancing bare-breasted tremble, die, and are damned to hell for their heathen practices.
35. Skit at Independence Day in which a poor traditional villager (right) asks in vain for medicine to cure his sick son from a well-dressed official (left). The skit enacts tensions of locally modern life.
36. Modern skit at Independence Day of a boy in rags (right) who seeks work in town from an overweight wealthy employer (left). The employer pays the boy a few small coins from his case full of money. In the skit, the youth steals the satchel of money and the employer then shoots his own security guards dead for not preventing the theft. The skit portrays the modern tensions of menial wage labor, envy, and violent response by employers.
37. Gebusi man and woman perform in traditional costume before hundreds of spectators at Nomad Station on Independence Day, 1998
38. Gebusi initiates process onto the performance area at Nomad Station on Independence Day, 1998
39. Gebusi initiates and women line up at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998
40. A Gebusi man is rated by an official judge holding an umbrella and wearing a Michael Jackson T-shirt at Nomad Station on Independence Day, 1998
41. Men enact traditional spirit séance singing at Nomad Station on Independence Day
42. Bedamini dancers perform for the multi-ethnic audience at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998
43. Mother and child enjoy the various dance performances at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998
44. Kabasi dancer standing and singing, Independence Day, Nomad Station, 1998
45. Kabasi dancer with feathers swaying, Independence Day, Nomad Station, 1998
46. Kabasi dancer sits and sings, Independence Day, Nomad Station, 1998
47. Kabasi performer on the following day of the Independence Day festivities. He wears a white shirt and stands with his son at the Nomad ballfield.
48. A boy who is too young to be a first-stage initiate is dressed in yellow initiation costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998
49. Creative costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man with a cassowary headdress, holding his bow
50. Creative costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man in black face paint a necklace, and chest bands
51. Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man with a tall two-tailed headdress
52. Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man with a high cassowary headdress twisted around wires
53. Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man with a very large plastic “noseplug” strapped to his face
54.Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man with a distorted facial costume, wielding an ax
55. Modern costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Man wearing a blue shirt and red bird-of-paradise feathers mounted on a red hat
56. Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Two boys dressed in leaves and body paint
57. Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Two men caked in red clay with strap-on phalluses and bug-eyes, impersonating corpses. The man on the right has a live snake strung through his nasal septum
58. Unusual costuming at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Two men wear masked costumes of painted bark cloth and strap-on phalluses. They are impersonating corpses.
59. Neo-traditional and modern dancing at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Bare-breasted, middle-aged woman with a flower headdress and body paint dances to disco music from a boombox in the performance competition. The man from her village explained to the crowd, “We have nothing developed in our village, so we can only present you our women for your entertainment.”
60. Neo-traditional and modern music at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Two men in neo-traditional costume play electric guitars.
61. Neo-traditional and modern dancing at Nomad on Independence Day, 1998: Two men dance disco. One is in neo-traditional costume, the other wears modern clothes.
62. Bruce stands in the main clearing of the old village site of Yibihilu, which has since been overgrown by the intruding forest. For Gebusi as well as for Bruce, seeing old habitation sites brings back nostalgic memories of past experiences and of people who have died.
63. The main village path and houses of Yibihilu as they appeared back in 1981. The view is almost identical to that of the previous photograph, which was taken seventeen years later, in 1998.
64. Sayu and Bulobey prepare a sago oven for Bruce’s final feast, 1998
65. Rolls of steamed sago and palm spathe plates of rice and fish are amassed for distribution at the final feast
66. Bruce enjoys festivities with two villagers, in mixed costuming, at his final feast
67. Traditional dancing in full costume at the final feast
68. A woman and her son from Gasumi Corners watch traditional dancing at the final feast
69. Villagers listen to string-band singing at the final feast
70. Disco dancing in Gasumi Corners at the final feast
71. Boys playing in costumes made of leaves on the evening of Bruce’s final feast.
72. The ghost of the past fades into the present. This image is an accidental (fated?!) double exposure of a dancer who performed at the final feast superimposed on a landscape photo taken the following morning.
73. Some of the young friends I will miss at Gasumi Corners