There are many ways of expressing freedom of speech in a democratic society. And art is just one of them.
Youths from the Paga Hill community are using art as a tool to express their plight in safe-guarding what they believe has been their News for over three decades.
It is non-violent, colorful and mixed with a splash of yoga. As the Sun beats down on this roundabout in the middle of Down Town Port Moresby, a group of youths are preparing for a display of artistic mastery.
The public is oblivious to what is about to happen. The youths bring out a painting they have been working on for over a month now. It’s a painting of the Map of Port Moresby.
About an hour later,
PNG’s renowned contemporary artist Jeffrey Feeger arrives on the scene. The crowd becomes larger as he explains how the painting portrays a young man, chosen by God, who helps to save his community.
He asks Allan, a fellow mentor, to pose for him using a yoga stance called the warrior. The Paga Hill Arts Resistance Movement came about in 2012 after a forced demolition.
The only female politician at the time, Dame Carol Kidu, also fought for the plight of the Paga Hill community. She showed courage in the face of adversity.
At the moment, the Paga Hill community has managed to get a stay order against the eviction. There are a mix of people that live in the community from all over PNG.
Another interesting fact about Paga Hill is that it accommodates several world war two relics, including bunkers.
The subject of the painting, Allan Mogerema, is a mentor to the youths of Paga Hill. He was once on the wrong side of the law but his life changed after he got involved in a yoga program.
He teaches the art to others like him. They’ve found solace, as well as sustenance in it.
The painting is currently on sale; all proceeds will be used to pay for further legal costs as the fight for Paga Hill pends before the courts.
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