"Livinai" Haiwali, Morata Island

Unit Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit
Place Oceania: New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Papua, Papuan Islands, D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Goodenough Island, Morata
Accession Number ART96151
Collection type Art
Measurement Sheet: 25.6 x 20.7 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description pencil, pen, ink and gouache on paper
Maker Curtis, R Emerson
Place made New Guinea: Papua New Guinea
Date made c.1944
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Portrait of Livinai, with decorative comb in his hair. This portrait was reproduced in R. Curtis ' Men of Morata', Walkabout, 1 October 1944. In his article Curtis wrote ' Livinai, the boy with the smile, was born in the village named Haiwali. Livinai knows about planes and has flown in one twice; knows how to duck when the Jap bombs come and wears an identity disc, works in a native malaria- prevention squad, and has formed a taste for canned tomato juice, bully beef, American cigarettes and chewing gum'

In 1942, Curtis was appointed Officer in Charge of Camouflage in New Guinea. As well as recording the activities of the Australian and American troops, Curtis took every opportunity to visit local villages, creating a series of portraits of Papuan Islanders. Several of these drawings were used to illustrate short articles Curtis contributed to the Australian magazine 'Walkabout', and provide insight into the experiences of the Papuans employed as manual labourers by Australian troops. Generally, the articles were observations on 'native' life, including marriage, wood carving, and body adornment, however Curtis also commented on distinguishing physiological features of individuals from different tribes. Curtis was appointed as an official war artist in March 1945, covering the civil and industrial war effort in Australia.