Saturday, 5 May 2012

Papua Lecture

So I don't just hang out at the many malls in Jakarta. Sometimes I like to increase my Indonesian knowledge by going to lectures about places that I won't actually get to see in person. One such lecture was on Papau - another island that makes up Indonesia.

The speaker was Kal Mueller a man who had spent 30 or so years in Indonesia, often visiting Papau though living in Bali I believe. The Kamoro which is the tribe the lecturer focused on, are a hunter/gather/fishing tribe on the coast of Papua. In the eastern part of Kamoro land they had little contact with the outside world until 1926 when the Dutch and then the Catholic Church began to set up posts there. But the western Kamoro had been trading and interacting with the outside world since the 1600s

Before the presentation members of the Kamoro tribe who had traveled to Jakarta did a traditional dance. A welcoming/greeting dance. I have filmed a portion for you.

 The Kamoro diet revolves around the sago tree which provides starch for their diet. Living on the coast means there is plenty of seafood available. Wild fruits and vegetables are eaten too but the Kamoro aren't really a farming people apparently. The lecturer also talked about this one animal - the tambelo which to me just looks like a huge thick long worm but it's apparently a mollusk. You get one out of a tree then can just slide it down your throat.
    Some rituals were also explained such as one for the boys coming of age. It's a long process but doesn't have to completed within some amount of time - more so oh we have free time let's do another part of the ceremony. The boys are painted at points, they change clothes to represent going from the women's world to the men's. Ancestral or other traditional figures are used in dances. I realize this a a really vague description but it has been a while.

    The lecturer has created a carving program where the Kamoro can make their traditional wood carvings and he takes them to other islands in Indonesia and sells them. It's to give them motivation to keep carving because within their community the practice of carving figures they don't need is dying down. A couple of day after this lecture there was to be an exhibit and sale of the artwork so we attended that as well.

These were some of the pieces out for sell. Authentic Papuan art - awesome yea?
And I bought some. I'll have to post what I got later because it's actually a surprise. But yaay for wood carvings.
Necklaces of animal bone I believe. I wanted one really badly 
Boating people would probably have a lot of canoe/boat carvings

I have given a somewhat scatterbrained vague description of the Kamoro tribe of Papau so if you would like to know more about them feel free to look them up yourself or on this site which I blieve is run by the lecturer Kal Muller too. I got a lot of this info from booklets I picked up at the lecture and art exhibition.

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