Artist Penny Casey has spent her entire life in the South Pacific, but it’s her childhood in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea that remains a constant inspiration.

Her haunting portraits of highlanders are the works that are closest to her heart.

“My New Guinea paintings capture a lost time, a lost people – they are the last chapter of the last frontier,” Penny says. “I’m painting something that is being lost very quickly and that makes me sad.”

Though she didn’t realise it at the time, Casey had a very isolated childhood. She grew up in the Eastern Highlands during the 70s and was the only European child on her family’s coffee, tobacco and rubber plantations.

Her connections with PNG extend back three generations. Casey’s parents were born in PNG and her grandfather, Michael Noel Casey, served in the 33rd Papua New Guinea Infantry Battalion and was later an MP for Kainantu.

“Despite my appearance, I’m a born Papua New Guinean and the other half of me is Fijian,” she says.

*Read the full story in Air Niugini Paradise magazine, May-June 2016.