ON our last day in Papua New Guinea, Rose and I wandered down to the ad-hoc market outside the Holiday Inn.
The offerings were mostly tourist trinkets and holiday kitsch, but then Rose saw someone she recognised. He was wearing a leather cowboy hat and sporting a magnificent beard. It was Uncle John.
Now Rose is inclined to call any PNG man who looks a bit older than her 'uncle'. But in this case he was related. His welcome was warm and fluent Kuman flowed freely.
Uncle John was an artist and he was selling his paintings. We were in a hurry to get to the airport, so grabbed a couple for a hundred kina or so. Then we rolled them up to be stuffed in a cardboard tube and bid him a fond farewell.
I had forgotten about this until last week when we were cleaning house. "Look at these!" I exclaimed.
"They’re by Uncle John - remember, we saw one of his paintings in Darwin," replied Rose.
And so I rediscovered the two sketches we had bought some years previously. They are amazing, full of colour and light, with skillfully etched outlines and infill.