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Around 50,000 Papuans, descend on Goroka, a small town in the highlands, of Papua New Guinea, their bodies painted in oil and pig grease, they come in their colorful traditional dress, with face and body paint, feathers, shells and masks. They bring together knowledge passed on through their rich heritages and celebrate with dance, music and costume. The town of Goroka host's this cultural show' which is called a sing sing, an annual event, held each September. The sing sing is an intense display of the rich and vibrant cultures. The cultural show can attract up to 140,000 people, including 40,000 painted warriors dancing to the rhythmic thud of the Kundu drums.

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea. A Photo story by ŠDonna Todd/LightMediation Contact - Thierry Tinacci - LightMediation Photo Agency - +33(0)6 61 80 57 21 thierry@lightmediation.com


2250-03: Emmanuel is the youngest child of his mother who's name is Rosa. Emmanuel gives his mother a hug just before setting off to his first Goroka cultural show, he is excited about his partisapaption as it amount to a rite of passage to the 12 year old.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-01: Tribe's people from the village of Comufa in the highlands of Goroka, practicing their act, in preparation for their participation in the town's famous Cultural

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-02: Tribes people tend to the head dress of a woman who is participating in the Goroka cultural show. / Afghanistan / Goroka

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-03: Emmanuel is the youngest child of his mother who's name is Rosa. Emmanuel gives his mother a hug just before setting off to his first Goroka cultural show,

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-04: a local village of Comufa positioned high at the top of one of the misty mountains close to Goroka, home to a tribe of people who remain here and have done


2250-11: A member of the huli wig men tribe from far north of PNG, peeking through a window during a break from his tribes performance at the 2008 Goroka cultural show.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-05: Villagers from a village called Comufu, sing and dance around their camp fire, before heading off to the Goroka Cultural show by foot. / Papua New Guinea

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-06: Rosa helps her 12 year old son Emmanuel to dress into his outfit for his first ever Goroka cultural show. Rosa knitted some of the boys outfit with wool

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-07: Rosa helps her 12 year old son Emmanuel to dress into his outfit for his first ever Goroka cultural show. Rosa knitted some of the boys outfit with wool

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-08: This year it was 12-year-old Emmanuel's first Goroka cultural show and he was very excited even though he was dressed in wool costumes rather than


2250-19: Tribal male warriors enact a tactic of survival, which resembles learning to play dead. They are midst performance at the Goroka Cultural show where around 50,000 of warriors, png nationals and now a

2250-21: It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around 5000 speakers and some as little as 500.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-09: Tribal people chatting and preparing a cup of tea, and relaxing before heading off on the two hour walk down from their village of Comufu to the Goroka

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-10: A tribal lady dressed in her new woolen tribal costume, sits waitning for her head dress to placed on her head, passes the time chewing her chewing

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-11: A member of the huli wig men tribe from far north of PNG, peeking through a window during a break from his tribes performance at the 2008 Goroka cultural

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-12: Eastern Highlands of Papua new Guinea, 75 years ago one million of these tribes people were discovered living here in the highlands . there existence


2250-18: New Guinea was one of the last places on earth to be colonized by Europeans. In the 1920's the Australians occupied only the coastal fringe and two large outer Islands, of the interior nothing was known. The staging of the first Goroka Show started back in 1957, it was initiated by missionaries in an effort to introduce the countless tribes and encourage them to proudly display each other's cultural styles of dress, paint, dance and instrumentals. Encouraging them to come together in friendly competition in place of the customary tribal feuding which relentless between the tribes.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-13: A young child warrior from a tribe of people who live high in the misty mountains of the eastern highlands of PNG. A mountain range which was so steep and

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-14: 12 year old Emmanual from the village of Comufu on top of a mountain outside the town of Goroka, he is very proud as this is his first cultural show and it is

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-15: The tribe of people from Comufu walk down the mountain in full traditional dress to particapapte in their towns giant sing sing which can see up to 140,000

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-16: The tribe of people from Comufu walk down the mountain some in full traditional dress to particapapte in their towns giant sing sing which can see up to


2250-32: The staging of the first Goroka Show or Sing Sing started back in 1957, it was initiated by missionaries to introduce the many different tribes to each other, so they could proudly display cultures of their districts and come together in a forum for friendly competition in place of war. The show attracts around 40,000 Warriors such as the tribes people shown here.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-17: Neighbors walk to a meet with the rest of their tribe to participate in the Goroka cultural show. / Papua New Guinea / Goroka

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-18: New Guinea was one of the last places on earth to be colonized by Europeans. In the 1920's the Australians occupied only the coastal fringe and two large

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-19: Tribal male warriors enact a tactic of survival, which resembles learning to play dead. They are midst performance at the Goroka Cultural show where

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-20: A Huli wig man, the man is a warrior part of a tribe who live in the cloud-cloaked jungles of PNG's southern highlands and have resisted every intrusion of


2250-42: A this tribal elder and warrior takes a smoke break from the dancing, singing and beating of drums at the Goroka cultural festival. In his everyday life he acts as judge and jury amongst the people of his

2250-40: Warriors such as this fierce warrior, displaying his weaponry is an exuberant example of the anthropological marvels which are found in person at the Goroka Cultural show. The show which today


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-21: It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around 5000

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-22: It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-23: The elderly face of a man from a hill tribe, who is taking part in the celebration along with his tribe at the Goroka cultural show in Papua New Guinea. /

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-24: Two warriors one from the coast the other from the mountains in Papua New Guinea, share a smoke during a break in performing with their individual tribes.


2250-51:


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-25: Painted warriors dancing to the rhythmic thud of the Kundu drums during the celebrations at the Goroka cultural show, known locally as a Sing Sing. / Papua

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-26: A beautiful female warrior from the misty mountains of northern Papua New Guinea, birds of paradise feathers proudly on her head, in bilas (full traditional

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-27: It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-28: The staging of the first Goroka Show or Sing Sing started back in 1957, it was initiated by missionaries to introduce the many different tribes to each other,


2250-33: Tribes people, warriors and tourists crowd the arena during the Goroka cultural show.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-29: Tribal groups flock into the town from the highlands of West, East, North, South and the coral atolls around PNG. Painted elders in grass skirts with purple

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-30: A female warrior from the misty mountains of northern Papua New Guinea, birds of paradise feathers proudly on her head, in bilas (full traditional

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-31: Celebration is the aim when 40,000 warriors walk to Goroka, a small town in the eastern highlands, of Papua New Guinea, their bodies painted in oil and pig

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-32: The staging of the first Goroka Show or Sing Sing started back in 1957, it was initiated by missionaries to introduce the many different tribes to each other,


2250-20: A Huli wig man, the man is a warrior part of a tribe who live in the cloud-cloaked jungles of PNG's southern highlands and have resisted every intrusion of Western civilization. To the Huli appearance is

2250-37: A beautiful female warrior presents a glimpse into the exquisite costume; extravagance and visual delights are on display at the Goroka cultural show. The show exhibits one of the finest collections of


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-33: Tribes people, warriors and tourists crowd the arena during the Goroka cultural show. / Papua New Guinea / Goroka

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-34: 12 year old Emmanuel from the village of Comufu, just up on top of one of the mountains that surround Goroka valley, dancing with his tribe at the Goroka

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-35: / /

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-36: After two days of dancing, singing and celebrations at the annual Goroka cultural show, this Warrior feels his age and takes a nap before embarking on the


2250-24: Two warriors one from the coast the other from the mountains in Papua New Guinea, share a smoke during a break in performing with their individual tribes. The staging of the first Goroka Show started back in 1957, it was initiated by missionaries in an effort to introduce the countless tribes and encourage them to proudly display each other?s cultural styles of dress, paint, dance and instrumentals. Encouraging them to come together in friendly competition in place of the customary tribal feuding which relentless between the tribes.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-37: A beautiful female warrior presents a glimpse into the exquisite costume; extravagance and visual delights are on display at the Goroka cultural show. The

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-38: Tribal men dance and sing to the rhythm of their kundo drums at the Goroka cultural show in Papua New Guinea. / Papua New Guinea / Goroka

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-39: A baby in traditional dress, who has been busy dancing for two days, takes a nap on his fathers knee as the two day clutural show in Goroka has taken

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-40: Warriors such as this fierce warrior, displaying his weaponry is an exuberant example of the anthropological marvels which are found in person at the


2250-47: 75 years ago one million of these tribes people were discovered living in the highlands of Papua new Guinea ? there existence unknown to the outside world until 1930. It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around 5000 speakers and some as little as 500.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-41: Tribal ladies from the coastal town of Madang, become the audience when a American woman comes to photograph them during a break in their

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-42: A this tribal elder and warrior takes a smoke break from the dancing, singing and beating of drums at the Goroka cultural festival. In his everyday life he acts

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-43: The display of a lorikeet corpse on the head of this yawning tribal woman as she takes a break from the celebrations during the Goroka Cultural show is

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-44: A mother and son dance and sing whilst performing in their traditional dress at the Goroka cultural show. / Papua New Guinea / Goroka


2250-43: The display of a lorikeet corpse on the head of this yawning tribal woman as she takes a break from the celebrations during the Goroka Cultural show is macabre. The show is staged annually and attracts around 50,000 people.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-45: It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around 5000

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-46: / /

2250-54: Celebration is the aim when 40,000 warriors walk to Goroka, a small town in the eastern highlands, of Papua New Guinea, such as this Huli wig man, the Huli people only met their first European

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-48: A group of tribal Warriors sing and beat their kundu drums in a powerful display which reveals how the cultural integrity of the tribe has united over the


2250-50: The people of the Comufu tribe dancing at the goroka show.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-49: A Huli wig man is a warrior part of a tribe who have resisted every intrusion of Western civilization. To the Huli appearance is everything, these men might be

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-50: The people of the Comufu tribe dancing at the goroka show. / Papua New Guinea / Goroka

2250-53: A young male warrior from the tribe of Comufu village who live high above Goroka. he has dressed in his traditional costume to take part in the Goroka cultural festival. Shown here with the

The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea / 2250-52: 75 years ago one million of these tribes people were discovered living here in the highlands - there existence unknown to the outside world until 1930. Shown


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea. These tribal groups flock into the town from the highlands of West Papua, from the forests and coral atolls around PNG. Painted elders in grass skirts with purple and yellow flowers in their hair mingle with Warriors wearing Birds of paradise feathers displayed proudly on their heads, tribes people come in bilas (full traditional costumes) with stunning face tattoos, elaborate headdresses and shell breastplates. Traditional dress draws heavily from the natural environment, making use of tree barks, natural dyes and pigments, animal bones, shells and bird feathers - in particular the colorful plumes of the bird of paradise. The women, men and children sing songs of praise and celebration. "We are happy today, we are happy today," they serenade. Whilst the dancers whirl to the sound of the beating drums and whistles. It is estimated that there are more than 1000 diverse cultural groups in PNG, and there are 820 different languages. Most languages have around 5000 speakers and some as little as 500. Because of this diversity, many different styles of cultural expression have emerged, each group has created its own expressive forms in art, dance, weaponry, costumes, singing, music, architecture and much more. The staging of the first Goroka Show or Sing Sing started back in 1957, it was initiated by missionaries to introduce the many different tribes to each other, so

they could proudly display cultures of their districts and come together in a forum for friendly competition in place of war. The missionaries brought in sing sing groups from many different area's, which had never before met due the remote country side and thick rainforest. Sing Sing is a tok pidgin word from Papua New Guinea meaning a large musical gathering, a celebration in song and dance, a music party. The sing sing has remained much the same since then and has become a national event in PNG's calendar. The Goroka Show attracts tourists from within PNG as well as from all over the world; it's a rare opportunity to experience the customs of over a thousand different tribes that populate Papua New Guinea.

But there is a changing face in PNG. In the town of Goroka, the local governor sponsors a tribe from way up on top of the mountains in the luscious rainforest. Instead of wearing their traditional costumes, The Governor buys them colorful synthetic wool in the colors of his 'Helicopter Company'. The tribesmen women and children come down to the Goroka Cultural Show to perform as an advert for his company. The Governor categorically denies any sponcership, but the tribes people told sing his praises and are proud to wear his helicopter company colours. The village is called Comufa and the tribe has been here for countless generations. This year it was 12-year-old Emmanuel's first sing sing and he was very excited even though he was dressed in wool costumes rather than his tribe's traditional dress. Still his participation amounts to a rite of passage to represent his tribe and celebrate along with his village's elders at his countries most famous sing sing.

Emmanuel's father Mamissa is the elder of his tribe and he has five children; Emmanuel is the youngest, his wife's name is Rosa. Mamissa's role as the tribes elder is complicated he acts as judge and jury amongst the tribe, he is the community leader and leads the community in all events fundamentally it was his decision to except the colorful wool in the Governors helicopter company's colors in an effort to get the cash to pay off some of his many debts. Although Mamissa insists that the majority of his tribesmen and women will wear traditional headdresses that have been handed down through the generations, and stored carefully when not in use. He himself along with one of the other high-ranking tribesmen will wear a cardboard cut out of the governors helicopter on their heads and dance, sing and beat the kundu whilst leading his tribe. The tribes people of Komiufa are not only influenced by the Government; the missionaries have built a chapel on their land and the tribe is too fearful not to believe in the chapels Seven day Adventist missionaries preaching. Mamissa say's that a lot of his tribe's very old traditions have been diminished due to the arrival of these missionaries who have told them their traditional ways are vulgar and will stop them from progressing in life. Rosa, Mamisa's wife, spends her day working looking after the chapel. The religious leaders do not live with them but instruct them in the work needed to tend the church, education in preaching methods, how to tend to the building structure which amounts to tree trucks to hold up a straw roof, an alter, with fresh flowers, candle's and rows of pews. When the leaders of the church do come to visit the village Rosa told me that no one goes out of their huts and houses as

they do not want to disturb the missionaries, they just sit in their houses silent until the leaders leave and then they are free to move around the village again. Mamissa says, 'Before the white man came we had beliefs but now we only follow the white men's religions, when the white man come to my country that was the time that modern worship began. Before this we revered only nature, we were warriors who fought with neighboring tribes for land and women.' Prior to the missionaries arrival the indigenous tribes practiced elaborate initiation rites and secret knowledge revealed to inititiates only after they had passed through six or seven stages and had become old men themselves. Now Mamisa says, 'I only wish to worship at the white mans church, now I have debts and I believe that the church will help us out of them. My biggest wish is to be free of all these debts and worship in the church, that's all I want. He felt deeply that his traditional ways were bad and seemed embarrassed to talk about any of them. In spite of this the Mamissa is very proud of his youngest child, with Emmanuel's participation in this years show, the whole tribe is pleased, to relax and escape the bounds they have found them selves in. They take delight spending these two days celebrating PNG culture with all the other indigenous tribes. They spend weeks practicing their dancing accompanied by ground shaking beating rhythms of their kundu drums. The morning of the show; the atmosphere at the Komiufa village was full of exhilaration and cheerfulness, the people had a good time helping each other to dress and arrange their gorgeous head pieces that had been passed down through the tribes for many generations. The two-hour walk from the top of the


mountain to the show grounds seemed to go within an instant, the joyful members sang and laughed in an atmosphere of energized fervor. The fierce competitive spirit that the missionaries first noticed within Papuan cultures in the early 1900's is still alive today and the sing sing is a colorful display of some of the urbanized tribes as well as more isolated clans. Such as the Huli wig men who live in the cloud-cloaked jungles of PNG's southern highlands and have resisted every intrusion of Western civilization. The Huli people only met their first European 70 years ago. The men are warriors. Their tribes are in constant conflict and only a peace deal brokered with land and pigs can settle them down again. To the Huli appearance is everything, to be anyone of influence; you need to look the part. Here you need a head of hair to get ahead. These men might be the fiercest warriors in PNG but they do have a tender side. At a sacred river in their homeland they bond by preening each other, Huli men have an obsession with hair. They can't grow enough of it and when they do, they keep it forever preserving it in wigs that sometimes take years to construct. The men spend around a week each year walking to Goroka for the sing sing. Where they are welcomed into a local Policeman's home. Here the Huli wigmen spend hours before each Goroka show preparing their costumes and make-up, complete with their ceremonial wigs and accessories. The scene resembles backstage at a Las Vegas show -- dozens of men finishing their face and body make-up, adjusting the feathers in their

wigs, and helping each other with all the minute details of costuming before the celebration begins. Preparation materials include clay and flowers, bird feathers and bones, various plant oils, hand-woven fabrics and threads, precious stones and artifacts from the sea. The Huli have remained isolated and so live a very different life from the people from Cormufa. In preservation of their culture the Huli wig men don't mind perpetuating the myth of their man-eating ways if it keeps the missionaries at bay. Western missionaries proselytized the country in the nineteenth century, they came to preach about god, they came despite the fact that many were initially murdered and actually eaten by cannibal tribes. Today according to census, 96 percent of citizens in PNG identify themselves as members of a Christian church. There have indeed been occasions when missionaries were responsible for needless destruction of culture, however the missionaries have also been instrumental in the translations of the majority of languages in PNG. Although, conversely, at the cultural show, when an older man in traditional sing-sing attire looked up and greeted a tourist with a friendly, "hello, masta' ! It was a firm reminder that less than a generation has gone by since the days of colonialism in Papua New Guinea. The Cultural show is an exciting display of colors and a profusion of culture. Still, the macabre display bird of paradise feathers and colorful lorikeet corpses that adorned many of the show's headdresses raised the question; surely the frequent destruction of these birds for the sake of their plumes must be putting them at risk of becoming extinct. The birds of paradise are the most amazing and incredibly colorful family of birds. It is thought that

trade in skins and tail feathers of these birds has been going on in South East Asia for around 5000 years and Papuan's have used the tail feathers of the males as adornment for as long as is known. They thought of them as the Birds of the Gods, that they floated in heaven and fed on dew until they died and fell to earth. However interestingly despite this excess of killing, owing to the prolific breeding styles of the birds no Birds of Paradise are currently endangered. If any threat exists to Birds of Paradise populations it will be habitat destruction of the rainforest they depend upon. In a country of 4 million people there is no such thing as a typical Papuan. The impact of modernization brings daily change to PNG but the majority of people, whether they be from the Highlands to the Coastal regions, remain majority dependent on subsistence farming and live in small villages. Papua New Guinea's art forms are as diverse as they are distinctive and the opportunity to glimpse the many visual and performing arts of this country exist in abundance at the Goroka cultural show, it exhibits one of the finest collections of primitive art and culture in the world.


The Changing Face of Papua New Guinea.