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Posts Tagged ‘siberut’

THE MENTAWAI SPIRIT

Although impossible to convey here the depths of what an indigenous people lose when displaced from their land and culture, I’d like to share with you a few observations alongside a series of photographs captured by friend and photographer, Chris Hopkins. The aesthetic contrast between the resettled and non-resettled peoples in Mentawai was what first grabbed my attention - in particular, →


PREPARING OUR FILM’S RELEASE CAMPAIGN

These past few months we have been busy researching and developing a strategy to release our feature documentary film, As Worlds Divide. Our primary objective is to utilise the film’s release to help fund the 10-year implementation of Suku Mentawai’s Cultural and Environmental Education Program (CEEP) – and thus prevent the loss of their precious Indigenous knowledge. Last Tuesday we gathered →


MENTAWAI TEETH SHARPENING RITUAL

It has been quite an extraordinary month here in Mentawai, and one particular reason for this was baring witness to a ritual I’d presumed had long been extinct: the sharpening, or chiseling of human teeth. There are various theories pertaining to the actual purpose for this act and, depending on the region you make your enquiry, perhaps all have some element →


SUKU MENTAWAI UPDATE

I’m really enjoying being back in Mentawai. In particular, trekking about the forest with my good friend Aman Masit Dere. He hasn’t been this energetic in years. The medicines are working and his health slowly recovering. It’s so pleasing. Sadly this outcome is not common here for people suffering from tuberculosis. Most others that I've met while passing through the remote →


POST-PRODUCING

I’m pleased to report that the film’s post-production is now in full swing. Even more so than when I reported the same progression last year, the year before, and most probably the several years before that too. Ahem. Jane and I have been in lock-down mode the past month working on a final cut (edit) of the film, eating excessive quantities →


MENTAWAI ELDERS

Mentawai female elder

I’d like to introduce you to my friends, Aman Lappet, and his wife, Bai Lappet. They have played an integral role in my journey here over these past years. Both are profoundly wise, insightful, patient, and often childishly humorous, too. Through being in their presence I’ve learnt an entirely new perspective on what it means to be ‘relaxed’, and the →


FOCUS NOW BACK ON THE FILM!

The trip to Mentawai went really well. For all the details, photos and video documentation about this please check out the article posted on the Suku Mentawai program website by clicking here. Thanks again to everyone involved who've helped us reach this stage in the process. Really happy. We received a great response from our star audience during an opportunistic →


HOW EFFECTIVE IS TRADITIONAL MEDICINE?

Medicine wrapped in leaves

Continuing on from recent articles discussing how the indigenous Mentawai community deals with illness and loss of life, I’d like to delve a little deeper into the practices of traditional Mentawai medicine; those who are trained to administer it; and the impacts caused by an increased lack of community access to it. Firstly, it‘s worth mentioning that traditional medicine has been →


SUPPORT AGAINST INDIGENOUS DISPLACEMENT

To reveal a little more of what this project hopes to achieve and to give those interested in supporting its cause a chance to do so, I'm launching a two-week fundraising campaign selling t-shirts to raise money for the not-for-profit indigenous education initiative. To see the entire range of men's and women's t-shirt designs and to learn exactly how you'll be →


FISCAL SPONSOR

As Worlds Divide has been approved by the Documentary Australia Foundation as a project suitable for philanthropic support and is now provided fiscal sponsorship. Meaning any financial support given toward the project's completion will be fully tax deductible here in Australia. Which, given the 'real damn close' stage the project is now at, could prove somewhat beneficial. You'll find the →


LIFE AND DEATH IN MENTAWAI

Each time I return to Mentawai I discover something new about the people and about the way they deal with the often-confronting circumstances that arise during their lives. This recent experience presented all that and more. Arriving in the port town of Siberut, Arla and I were greeted by news that my friend Aman Masit Dere was ill. His condition though →


WHAT IS REALLY BEST FOR THE COMMUNITY?

Portrait of a Mentawai shaman, Sikerei, and his family

Infant mortality is indeed a sensitive subject and, for all things related, difficult to know how best to approach when discussing on a public platform. My dilemma, after having observed an unexpected sense of functionality in a people coping with losing what I’d consider to be an abnormally high number of infants, is that as a result of this I →


MOVING FORWARD

Mentawai shaman proud of the rainforest

The project is at a stage where I’ve begun contacting and presenting to those I hope can help take it that next step toward release. Which is extremely exciting. Interestingly, I’m observing that people are generally really busy. Meaning that for many opportunities I await response. Admittedly I’m not as aggressive in pushing for people’s time as I perhaps →


GETTING TO KNOW THE SHAMAN, SIKEREI

I wanted to share this sequence of images with you and so thought I’d accompany it with a few observations I find interesting about the Mentawai shaman, Sikerei. Firstly, to become Sikerei is to devote ones life to teaching, healing, and protecting the people; this is their role. One important component of this role involves learning from their predecessors the →


PROJECT OVERVIEW

To clarify exactly what this project entails and hopes to achieve I have formulated a vision board; a simple step-by-step infographic identifying the problem, how this was found, the solution, and a pathway to achieving its long-term goal. I have posted a copy of this here for you to examine. As you can see, the film, BUI MAREUREU BAAP As Worlds →


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 →


KEY DOCUMENTS

To give a brief update on the project, I’d like to share with you the news that two key documents, which are particularly vital to establishing the project’s direction and further development, have now been completed. The first of these documents, the Indigenous Mentawai Community Research Report, presents a detailed analysis of the baseline survey alongside secondary/pre-existing research data; establishing a →


KEY INFORMATION, UPDATED

Given that the teaser and synopsis featured here on the film’s website no longer represented what the film is actually about, in light of the recent realisation and subsequent changes to the story, I've now replaced them with versions that actually do. Which you can view here below or otherwise in the designated areas found on the website, as per →


MENTAWAI SONG: SIKEREI

In light of the information presented in the previous post, and indeed the disposition its inspired, I wanted to post something a little more light-hearted, like a song. Well, a mixture of two songs actually. With the more predominant praising the healing and shamanistic abilities of Sikerei – as illustrated by the visuals shown in the video; and the →


TWISTS AND TURNS

To suggest there’s been a lot happen with this project over the past few years, in terms of the number of developments moving forward, backward and, more often than not, in circles, would be somewhat of an understatement. In fact, when considering the unconventional path it’s followed – particularly when knowing that, as I am still learning, it’s a path →


TO DIVERT THE ATTENTION FOR A MOMENT…

Dear reader, Whilst I’ve found working on the analysis report and program these past few weeks to be incredibly fascinating, and exciting too – allowing me to simulate what I presume to be the practices of a university student – I’ve now reached a point where, to progress, I must digress. The focus, in the hope of re-establishing productivity via the →


SO WHERE ARE YOU AT NOW?

Right, a reasonable question, sure… I’ll try and be brief. The film, which is currently at a stage I'm hoping is very near to that which is required, is in the hands of a few select individuals who, given their film related experience, I'm hoping can provide me a frank indication of exactly where I stand – in terms of →


MENTAWAI CEREMONY

Although I did, rather prudently I thought, opt against carting the weight of a video camera and array of thought-to-be essential accessories back to the islands for the recent Baseline Survey activity; I did in fact manage – utilizing the advanced capabilities of the modern-day still – to capture a few moments during a ceremony given for the death of →


ASK THE COMMUNITY

Briefly updating on the progress of the Mentawai Support Program, we've just returned from the Islands where we were able to support an incredible team of young enthusiastic Mentawai in successfully conducting a Baseline Survey – an activity crucial to understanding the wants, needs and perspectives of the community; and what strategies, if any, they would like implemented to help →


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