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“We bring West Papua exhibit to London National Portrait Gallery”

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Dale Grimshaw talks to the public inside the gallery about his portrait of Benny Wenda- Photo by Kristian Buus.

England, Jubi – On September 1, 2017, at 7.30pm, a group of twelve performers – including respected street artist Dale Grimshaw – set up a new exhibit, without permission, inside the National Portrait Gallery in London.

They took over a space at the entrance to the BP Portrait Award exhibition, and set up a display featuring an original portrait by Grimshaw. This portrait shows the Indigenous West Papuan independence leader, Benny Wenda.

Benny Wenda is an outspoken critic of the National Portrait Gallery’s sponsor, BP, as the oil company works closely with the Indonesian government who are currently brutally occupying West Papuan lands.

According to Wenda, “BP is operating in the middle of a genocide. Since 1963, hundreds of thousands of West Papuans have been killed by the Indonesian occupation, either directly by government forces or through the loss of their homes, their lands and their livelihoods. The money that BP pays to the Indonesian government helps them to buy weapons and ammunition that are used to harass, intimidate and kill my people.”

This quote was shown prominently beside the portrait in tonight’s rebel art display, and was also printed on hundreds of leaflets given to gallery visitors by the performers, who are from the theatrical action group ‘BP or not BP’?.

Gallery staff attempted to usher the public out of the BP exhibition, but in doing so brought large numbers of people through the room with the unsanctioned exhibit, where many stayed to listen to the talks and performances.

Last night’s performance was timed to coincide with the hand-in, earlier in the day in Geneva, of a 200,000-strong international petition calling for a free and fair independence vote for the people of West Papua. This petition has been banned in Indonesia itself and West Papuan activist Yanto Awerkion is currently in jail, imprisoned by the Indonesian government for collecting petition signatures.

Earlier this year, Dale Grimshaw entered the portrait of Benny Wenda into the BP Portrait Award as a way to raise awareness of the West Papuan cause, and to highlight BP’s support for the Indonesian regime. However, the portrait was not shortlisted by the judges.

“I didn’t really know if it was likely to get shortlisted when the subject matter is so critical of the sponsor – especially as BP has a seat on the judging panel” said Grimshaw. “But bringing the portrait to the gallery today gives us an opportunity to tell Benny’s story directly to the public, and raise vital awareness of the West Papuan people’s struggle for freedom. BP gets to plaster its logo all over the gallery and present this false version of itself to the world. Art can be a way to fight back against that and tell the truth about what these companies are really doing.”

BP’s relationship with Indonesia – and with other repressive governments including Egypt, Azerbaijan and Mexico – are currently the subject of a formal complaint to the National Portrait

Gallery by the campaign group Culture Unstained. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the gallery’s Ethical Fundraising Policy expresses concerns about taking money from companies “known or suspected to be closely associated with a regime known or suspected to be in violation of human rights”.

The gallery’s deal with BP appears to contravene this policy, and so Culture Unstained are pursuing the matter through a formal complaints process.

Visitors watch a film by West Papuan activist Raki Ap about BP’s activities in West Papua – Photo by Kristian Buus.

The group stayed in the gallery until it closed at 9pm, giving talks to the public about the painting and showing films of Benny Wenda and Raki Ap, another prominent West Papuan activist, talking about BP’s role in the occupation of their lands.

The group also performed a spoof awards ceremony, where BP received a “Pollution Award”, the National Portrait Gallery was given a “Hypocrisy Award” for their failure to follow their own ethical funding policy, and the West Papuan activist Yanto Awerkion was presented in absentia with an award for courage, and had the whole performance dedicated to him.

The National Portrait Gallery refuses to say how much money it gets from BP, but estimates place it at around £375,000 per year. This is less than 2% of the gallery’s annual income.

By comparison, National Portrait Gallery visitors contribute around £3 million per year through ticket purchases alone, while taxpayers provide £6.6 million per year. Meanwhile, the UK government gives hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer money in subsidies to BP each year.

BP or not BP? is a member of the Art Not Oil Coalition.(*)

Source: bp-or-not-bp.org

Editor: Zely Ariane

Economy

Two young Papuans, selling newspapers for study

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Robi Wenda while serving his customer – Jubi / Yance Wenda

Sentani, Jubi – Awan Sol, a 19 years old student of Papuan Baptist Theology in Jayapura works part-time selling newspapers in front of the former Merpati Office at Abepura, Jayapura City to meet his daily needs.

Sol whom is native of Yahukimo District said he works early in the morning before the class and sell approximately 30 to 50 copies of newspapers every day. “Headlines are a factor whether newspapers will immediately be sold out or not. If I can sell 10, I got Rp 100 thousand. The more copies I sell, the more money I get. After the class, I continue to sell the rest of copies,” he told Jubi on Wednesday (4/7/2018).

Meanwhile, Robi Wenda, a student of Cenderawasih University has to postpone from his study due to financial issue. He is now selling the local newspapers at the Sentani Airport to support his needs. “I sell ‘Jubi’ and ‘Cepos’ every day,” he said to the reporter at the Sentani Airport, Jayapura District. (*)

 

Reporter: Yance Wenda

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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KOMNAS HAM Papua: AI is influential in the United Nations

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Amnesty International when launching its report in Jayapura City. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Human Rights National Commission (KOMNAS HAM) Papua Representative said people should not underestimate the Amnesty International (AI) because the agency is quite influential in the United Nations.

Ramandey’s statement was related to the launched of AI’s report ‘Sudah, Kasi Tinggal Dia Mati: Pembunuhan dan Impunitas di Papua (Fine, Let them all died: Killing and Impunity in Papua)’ on 2 July 2018 in Jayapura.

The Amnesty International reports since January 2010 to 2018, the Indonesian security forces killed 95 people in both provinces of Papua and West Papua, which 69 victims killed without legal consent, and 85 were indigenous Papuans. However, the report has reaped the reaction from the police and military.

“AI is very influential in the decisions taken in the UN Human Rights Council, especially related to the human rights cases,” Ramandey told Jubi on Friday (6/7/2018).

Further, he said it should consider that the Amnesty International, which has 72 offices around the world, is the only institution received the accreditation from the UN to provide views on the alleged human rights violations.

“This is a good practice for the state to improve the legal system and litigation. A mechanism, a dynamic that the Indonesian Government—not only the police and military—should consider. The government must give a good response,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of LP3BH (Research, Study and Legal Assistance of Manokwari) said both civil and military officers in Indonesia have the custom to rebut over the report without sufficient data and investigation results of proper standards and methodologies. It often leads to polemical lies in public. “It could also lead to ignorance among Indonesians including Papuans about questionable legal facts in order obtaining fair, transparent and accountable information.” (*)

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Where does Rp 9.56 billion for Panggama Airport’s construction go?

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Papuan Legislator Natan Pahabol (blue shirt) with the Yahukimo community. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan legislator from Yahukimo, Yalimo and Pegunungan Bintang electoral districts Natan Pahabol questioned the funds allocated for the airport construction in Panggama Sub-district Yahukimo.

He said the Papua Provincial Government allocated Rp 11.95 billion in 2016 to renovate the Panggama Airport. The amount of Rp 9.56 billion has disbursed to the contractor in the fiscal year 2017. In the same year, the contractor began to work on the former airport that was built by missionaries from the European Evangelical Agency around 1972-1973 in collaboration with the GKI Synod in Tanah Papua under the leadership of the Rev. Adam Roth.

“After that, the work discarded and until now the airport has not finished. So when it rains so heavy, the airport is flooded. By this year it cannot be used,” said Pahabol to Jubi on Friday (6/7/2018).

Further, he said during this time, the local community, especially the church workers from GKI Yalimo and Anggruk depend on this airport for their only access in and out of the region by using the small-bodied aircraft. Now, their access has obstructed due to the construction.

“We are questioning to the Public Works Office, who’s responsible for the airport’s construction? The airport is for the public access, so we hope the office could immediately find out who the contractor is?” he said.

Another Papuan legislator, John NR Gobai said it is not just the Panggama Airport but infrastructure development in some areas, especially in Papua has not finished for years. “For instance, Karang Tumarisita Bridge in Nabire District. It has not finished for three years, and it’s a responsibility of the government agency,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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