How Kyliemera uses painting to rebuild her life


AFTER she fell ill while attending the University of PNG as an Environmental Science and Geography student in 2019, Kyliemera Nema Kapiri turned to painting as an outlet for her bottled-up emotions.
“I was a bit sick in 2019 and mentally unstable, and looking for ways to make myself whole again. I searched the internet for things to do. I came across painting.
“I started painting my emotions on canvas when I felt sick or sad. When I completed a painting, I felt all those emotions and negative feelings gone.
“For people who understand such paintings, they can feel how I was feeling when painting these abstracts.”
Kyliemera, 25, is the second eldest in a family of five – two boys and three girls, from Southern Highlands.
She did not realise her knack for the art existed until she had to leave university because of the illness.
She began abstract painting and was not sure whether her work will interest anyone else. It did.
“I have already completed 150 paintings and sold 80. My prices range from K50 to K1,000 for one.”
Not only to generate an income but also to get her health back to normal.
“When I’m emotional, I paint (as an outlet). I cannot paint what others want or feel. I have to be emotionally connected with a picture to paint it.”
Her parents support her.

“ I was a bit sick at university in 2019 and mentally unstable, and looking for ways to make myself whole again. I came across painting.”
National Polytechnic Institute of PNG tourism and hospitality student, Josephine Kerry (left) with Kyliemera holding a portrait of former Paradise Foods CEO, James Rice. – Nationalpic by BRADLEY MARIORI

“In my first abstract, I painted myself and my mum. She bought my paint, canvas and pushed me. She gave me a purpose to my painting. My dad too.”
Kyliemera is a climate change advocator which she reflects in some of her paintings.
Apart from painting, she manages a transit lodge at One Mile in Lae.
She sees self-expression through art as a way to relieve stress and decrease anxiety and depression. It can also promote young people’s interest in school while boosting overall happiness in other aspects of their lives.
It is also often said that emotional responses are often regarded as the keystone to experiencing art, and the creation of an emotional experience has been argued as the purpose of artistic expression. Research has also shown that the neurological underpinnings of perceiving art differ from those used in standard object recognition.
Kyliemera’s advice to aspiring artists is that they all have hidden talents and must show that to the world.
“Art is a sleeping giant in PNG. We don’t value it. But paintings are expensive overseas.”
Kyliemera believes God had blessed her with artistic skills which she plans to use to the maximum.
“Personally, it is not only about just making money but also embracing what God has given me to share with others. God will give whatever our heart desires as there are endless possibilities. Use time wisely. Use negativities as stepping stones, and move on.”