Guns & Arrows
Guns & Arrows
Papua New Guinea
1 in stock
A portfolio set of 30 hand-printed prints on silver gelatin paper from original Polaroid negatives: 15 guns (Raskols) and 15 arrows (Sing-Sing). Each photograph has been taken by the artist and copyrighted to the artist. The portfolio is designed and handmade by the artist.
Over the course of two weeks in 2003 and 2004, Stephen Dupont entered Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, gained some level of trust with the people by his sheer audacity, and photographed portraits of Raskols, the umbrella term used to refer to violent gang members and criminals of PNG.
“Raskols are known to be violent thugs and are notorious for armed robberies, rapes, and armed hold-ups. In Port Moresby, two thirds of the population live in shanty towns and unemployment stands at around 70%. I do sympathise with the guys when they say ‘we only go out and rob to feed their families.’ Like the bandits of Robin Hood, the raskols distribute the wealth across their community.
In the 29 years since PNG gained independence from Australia, the country has gone backwards in almost every respect, from health and education to corruption and crime. Many locals believe that the PNG police is corrupt and violent. They are just as scared of them as they are of the Raskols.
I did the project so my photographs could bring humanity, dignity, and honesty to the Raskols. I wanted to allow them to have the opportunity to express themselves in front of the camera and bring me into their world and allow me to learn about their situation.”
I traveled to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea in August 2004. I was in Mount Hagen for the annual ‘Sing–Sing’ festival (13 -15 August ). This event brings people from many tribes around the country to celebrate custom and indigenous culture. The three-day show becomes a wild Stone Age party of singing, dancing, and feasting.
I hired local boys to build me a traditional hut that I used as my photo studio. From here I made hundreds of portraits on Polaroid B+W 665 film. The negatives were preserved in a chemical solution and later washed, dried, and archived in my hotel room. The Polaroids were either given to my subjects or used for documentation so I would have each person’s tribe and village name. My subjects volunteered to be photographed as they chose to be. The series looks at a cross-section of some Papua New Guinea’s tribes as they appear in 2004.
Portfolio of 30 photographs. Edition of 15. 2007.