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Posts Tagged ‘tattoo’

SUKU MENTAWAI LAUNCH ECOTOURISM

It has been a busy few months for As Worlds Divide, Indigenous Education Foundation (IEF) and the Suku Mentawai team. The implementation of their Cultural & Environmental Education Program (CEEP) is now underway and the Mentawai committee driven to ensuring its success. One important factor and indicator of their program's success is sustainability – how the Mentawai team will operate →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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