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Indigenous Celebration Festival, Bali 2018

Last week we attended the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, on Bali Island. It was incredible – a testament to the united strength of Indigenous peoples and the unique and everlasting value of their cultures. We travelled with 8 Mentawai students and teachers from the YPSM cultural education program, and two ‘sipatitik’ tattoo artists – all from Siberut Island.

Suku Mentawai Education Foundation's cultural program students and teachers perform at the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, Bali
Suku Mentawai Education Foundation's cultural program students and teachers perform at the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, Bali

Whilst celebrating their own Indigeneity – through cultural performance, workshop and exhibition, the Mentawai team were also captivated and deeply inspired by the music, dance, song, story and pride of so many different Indigenous groups and cultures from across the Asia-Pacific. This truly was a sight to behold, for all of us. A short video:

Thank you so much to event organisers, David Metcalf and Shinta Emmanuela, for bringing this vision to life and enabling the Mentawai team to take part. Also, to Suku Suku Tatau and the international tattoo artists who helped bring the two Mentawai sipatitik to Bali.

Mentawai 'sipatitik' tattoo artist and his apprentice explain about their traditional tattoo culture at the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, Bali
Mentawai 'sipatitik' tattoo artists perform traditional handtapping at the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, Bali
Yayasan Pendidikan Suku Mentawai host a workshop about their cultural education program at the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, Bali

If you would like to know more about the Mentawai’s community-based initiative to prevent the loss of their Indigenous culture and knowledge, please follow along at iefprograms.org/programs or sukumentawai.org/en Thank you for your ongoing support and to all those who have made a donation. The impacts of this are profoundly positive. The future looks bright.

Student from the Suku Mentawai Education Foundation's cultural program performs a collaborative dance with children from other cultures at the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, Bali

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