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NEW MENTAWAI UMA

I’ve just returned from a relatively short trip back to the Islands, which, as always, was wonderfully uplifting. The motive for this particular journey came via an invitation to attend a cultural celebration held for the construction of a new Uma (long house), which was built last year by Sikerei, Aman Masit Dere and his son, Aman Kacau.

As is the focus of this ceremony, the souls of the spirits (simagere) that have since remained situated in the previous – now abandoned – Uma are ushered a path from the old and into the new, where they’re then showered with cultural song, dance, music and offerings. A practice given to ensure safety and protection for the dwelling and for their clan’s future, as described in more detail HERE.

Interestingly, this Uma, which would be large enough to accommodate thirty to forty residents at any one time, and also happens to be situated in a rather remote jungle location, took the two of them approximately three months to erect… all without the assistance of machinery.

Sharing this experience with a few close friends and a family member, I didn’t film much of the ceremony. However, I did manage to capture a few images throughout our stay, which I’ll endeavour to share with you over the coming months.

With regards to the project, I’m looking to now organize a series of screenings where I’ll present the film and vision to selected persons, hopefully, in exchange for their support. I’ll write in more detail about this soon though… feeling a little too relaxed to delve thought into such topics right now. Enjoy the images.

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