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Posts Tagged ‘sikerei’

WHAT IS #WAFSAC?

Two months ago we premiered our documentary As Worlds Divide at Federation Square, Melbourne, and in collaboration with the Indigenous Education Foundation (IEF) launched the #wafsac - ‘watch a film, save a culture’ fundraising drive. We’ve since held public screening events in Torquay, Redfern, Bondi and Mallorca – raising more than $27,000 for the Suku Mentawai program. Thank you. I’d like →


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, →


AS WORLDS DIVIDE FILM LAUNCH AND #WAFSAC CAMPAIGN

Thank you to everyone who attended the As Worlds Divide film premiere event last Friday, the 24th of March. The level of support and generosity for Suku Mentawai and the ‘watch a film, save a culture’ #wafsac campaign was truly inspiring. Together, we raised $20,000 for their cultural and environmental-based indigenous education program (CEEP). We’d also like to extend our thanks →


AS WORLDS DIVIDE PREMIERE, TICKETS ON SALE

We’re proud to announce that tickets to the premiere of our feature documentary film, As Worlds Divide, are now on sale. This event will take place at Deakin Edge, Federation Square on March 24th and will also celebrate the launch of our new charity, Indigenous Education Foundation (IEF), ‘watch a film, save a culture’ #wafsac campaign and a cultural / photographic →


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 →


FILM OUTREACH STRATEGY

I have been a little inactive here these past few months, but for good reason. Having finally finalised the film’s production – yes, very happy – it has provided some much-needed time to catch up on the happenings of the Foundation; namely, identifying weaknesses and planning steps to strengthen and move forward. One key component of this planning is the film’s →


FINAL STAGES OF PRODUCTION

Yes, the journey of this film production has been notably slow and, for those following along, seemingly uneventful at times. Almost eight years now and we’re still yet to see a film. C’mon Rob. Contrary to popular perception – and perhaps direct sightings – I will say we’ve continued chipping away at this quite incessantly. And what is →


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 →


EXCITING YEAR AHEAD

It has been a rather eventful few months in Mentawai, as is typically the case. Seemingly, there are no fewer surprises now than there were when this journey began nearly seven years ago... perhaps just more meaningful ones. I've posted a few recent photographs and included brief descriptions. You may be particularly interested in the 'chance' encounter we had with the →


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 →


MENTAWAI TELEPHONE, TUDDUKAT

The prospect of functioning without a telephone would be considered near impossible by a large and growing portion of today’s modern society who now depends upon this device to sustain a means of living. For better or worse, this change in behavior and perception over the past century does heighten the intrigue as to how people actually got about sharing →


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 →


STORY: HOW TO BUILD A MENTAWAI UMA

Storytelling is a fundamental component of all indigenous cultures and heavily intertwined within their native educational systems. For Mentawai, according to Sikerei, "Our stories teach us about our history and how to survive here. They carry the wealth of Mentawai through the generations. This is our fortune." Over the years I've documented a variety of these cultural tales and edifying conversations →


WIN THIS LIMITED EDITION MENTAWAI PHOTO!

We plan to commence work on the Suku Mentawai program before the end of the year. However, to do so, we need to raise initial funding through IEF. If you’d like to win this certified limited edition (artist proof #1) photo of native Mentawai - framed, be in the running by purchasing a raffle ticket for $2 each or $5 →


BIGGEST ANNOUNCEMENT THUS FAR!

Young Mentawai children safe and happy swimming alone in the river

What might you wonder if you found a species of plant now struggling to survive in the exact same location it had flourished in for thousands of years – even after being provided a variety of enhancements to help it grow? …‘What is it that has suddenly caused this change?’ perhaps. Over the past six years I’ve been researching and documenting →


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 →


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 →


AT A GENTLE PACE

Funny picture of a Mentawai shaman using a digital camera

Certainly not setting any records for the pace that this project is developing at but I can assure you it is progressing and I am getting closer and closer to announcing a few rather exciting advancements. Meantime, here is a photograph of a Mentawai Sikerei attempting to take a photograph of me.


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 →


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