The Peabody Museum of Archeology & Ethnology will present Piksa Niugini: Portraits and Diaries, the photographs and artist’s journal of Stephen Dupont. His work documents the Westernization of traditional society in Papua New Guinea. The opening reception and book signing is Thursday, May 2, 2013, from 5-7 pm.
We caught up with Stephen for a brief q&a.
Why Papua New Guinea?
It is a place I had been covering since 2004 and it gets into your blood. An incredible country that offers a window into just about every facet of life.
What was the most exciting thing you learned through your research and photographs?
Culture is taken seriously and there is a real sense of struggle and drive to hold onto the past.
Most surprising response you’ve had to your work?
That people really like it, it’s humbling.
What is the best/worst results of the Westernization of traditional Papua New Guinea society?
I guess it is progress in a Western sense, and now everyone has the opportunity to have mobile phones and access to internet. New roads and other infrastructure being built can all be seen as positive. The downside is that their culture is being eroded quickly, advertising and the usual globalised influences mainly from international mining companies is having a big negative effect on the population.
I’m thinking of heading to Burma or Western China, just be a nomad with my cameras, a street photographer.
Papua New Guinea Portraits and Diaries
May 2- September 2, 2013
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
Harvard Museum of Science & Culture
11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Image credit: All images courtesy Stephen Dupont. From the Diaries volume of Stephen Dupont’s book Piksa Niugini: Portraits and Diaries.