For the Global Thinker

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Gibson Girl in New Guinea

Two Seattle women have retraced the intrepid travels of model and portrait artist Caroline Mytinger, who journeyed to the South Sea islands in the 1920s to capture "vanishing primitives" on canvas

"One painting showed a pretty girl named Ninoa being readied for a ceremonial dance by her mother, who carried the girl’s tiny baby on her back. Another canvas depicted two young men smoking a native pipe. One of the men was the father of Ninoa’s baby, but he refused to marry her and, worse, publicly laughed at her while she was being painted. She left and hanged herself in one of the huts, not out of sorrow but to revenge herself by haunting her disloyal lover. Shortly thereafter, Mytinger wrote, “Ninoa let him have it” when the young man was seriously injured in an accident.

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