Betni Kalk is a professor of Design at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. As the daughter of missionaries, Betni grew up in the East Sepik Province in Sawiyano territory. She returned as a college student and later asked permission from the elders to film their lives, with them deciding which aspects of their lives to include.
In 2012, after a successful Kickstarter campaign and a grant, she brought in 3 cameras and solar panels for a summer off the grid. Betni used one of the cameras and the other two were used by Sawiyano to film their own lives. In 2016 with additional funding, new cameras and solar panels were brought in along with the edits of the footage for the Sawiyano to approve.
Betni’s intent was to document or get documentation of traditional methods of crafts and food gathering for future generations of Sawiyano before traditional culture drastically changes due to roads being built with mining and timber companies entering the territory. While this project was personal due to her childhood with the Sawiyano, she intends to facilitate more of this type of project with PNG nationals recording their own lives in other parts of PNG in the future. Betni will speak about her recent times filming in the bush, Sawiyano reactions to and methods of filming, and show clips. Please visit tumbuna.org for more content.
Sawiyano Singsing from tumbuna on Vimeo.