These days, when not travelling, she is a Brisbane-based painter, illustrator and art consultant. Charleen is also prominent in supporting charities through her art.
It happened to be the inimitable Leonard Roka who first drew my attention to Charleen’s work. And I was knocked out by it.
And I was also impressed by a bold idea she has for using art to assist the development of Bougainville.
“It has been about timing and understanding how I could use my craft to make a small difference.
“After working with some charities here in Oz and abroad, seeing how it all works, I thought it was time to take it home to Bougainville.”
Charleen’s plan is to host an international art exhibition that will showcase Bougainville artists of all media together with some international artists to add further support.
“It’s quite a development process, maybe ambitious,” she says, “but nothing has ever stopped me from trying.
“I would be happy if we have just a small exhibition to start, but I figure, I may as well use what knowledge and contacts I have to carve the path as the journey carries me.”
Charleen says the outcome will showcase Bougainville arts, crafts and traditions and raise funds to support small community projects that will have immediate effect – like education materials for schools and supplies for aid posts.
She also wants to “demonstrate, inspire and create an avenue of income for local artists” and run art workshops for the community, “to bring unity, a sense of purpose and achievement through creativity, retaining traditional art forms and storytelling.”
It’s a visionary and progressive idea and I’m mulling over how PNG Attitude and I may be able to assist in a practical as well as a promotional way.