“I am often asked if I gave the gum to these boys from the highlands of Papua New Guinea. The answer is no. They were participating in the Mount Hagen highlands Sing Sing, a festival that encourages people to compete for the most culturally intact tribe. Somehow they got their hands on some bubblegum and delighted in surprising me with bubbles.” -Cristina Mittermeier
Mittermeier’s works seek to remind us that we are all inherently linked through our life on Earth. Here, the Western world and the Southwest Pacific become unified through the gleeful depiction of bubblegum blowing--an image that is largely associated with American iconography. The image offsets the expectation of stoicism that is so often portrayed in photographs of indigenous peoples while also reminding us that joy is universal, emphasizing that people are as equally connected through moments of lightheartedness as we are through adversity.