Connect with us

Arts & Culture

Notes from a paradise (West Papua and Papua New Guinea) by a Mumbay artist

Published

on

The Mumbai-based artist Garima Gupta – Supplied

Jayapura, Jubi/The Asian Age – The Birds of Paradise of Papua New Guinea, a highly sought-after bird species, have amused the humans worldwide with their mating dances. After reading Alfred Russel Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago, illustrator and self-taught birder Garima Gupta was compelled to visit West Papua in 2014.

The Mumbai-based artist says, “Wallace, who is credited for the theory of sexual selection through female choice, along with Charles Darwin, spent a considerable amount of time studying these birds.” She adds, “Unique to the island of New Guinea, the birds’ dimorphic form (condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics) is dictated by the evolutionary changes. As a result, the males are the more pompous creatures with highly complicated plumes and a wide-ranging vocal repository. I was keen on seeing them in their natural habitat,” says Garima.

In 2015, the rainforests in Indonesia had caught a devastating fire. To gauge the tragedy, Garima returned to Papua New Guinea in 2016, and over a period of five months, did extensive research. “I returned from Papua New Guinea and West Papua with files filled with recordings, of meetings. Two years ago, I met Zeth Wonggor in the rainforests of the Arfak Mountains of West Papua. A former hunter, Zeth has been guiding people like me who wish to see the Birds of Paradise in the remote corners of the rainforest for the past 20 years.”

Garima also stayed in remote rainforest villages with no electricity and living on diet chiefly consisting of boiled vegetables. “I had never lived in such a remote place and that in itself was quite an experience. There was no electricity; only solar panels were chiefly used to communicate with the outside world,” she adds.

Her ongoing exhibition consisting of sketches and animations (Minutes of the Meeting), at Clark House Initiative, places the birds as the centrepiece of a conversation on historical narrative of ecological damage in South-east Asian and Western Pacific. “I borrowed the term (minutes of a meeting) from my grandmother’s lexicon. It was a sizeable part of her job — she travelled home after long hours of multiple meetings. I grew up watching her conduct these jargon-filled meetings. The words were so dense, they resembled a suffocating noise. And strangely enough, everything apart from these words was filled with nuance,” she explains as the reason behind the title of her exhibiton.

“All across Europe,” she explains, “Since the 1550’s, the colourful Birds of Paradise from the Far East mesmerised the European elite and came to symbolise the age of knowledge and scientific inquiry. Trading of these birds as specimens and feathers for fashionable hats was a common sight till early 1900s. As the West grew ecologically conscious, societies like RSPB in England and the Audubon in USA became instrumental in banning hunting of Birds of Paradise for plumes. However, illegal trade still flourishes behind closed doors and specimens continue to travel to European countries till today.”

However, Garima says that her intention was less of an anthropologist or an ornithologist. “I wanted to have a more human-to-human approach, understanding the people’s stories that are often missed by he mainstream media,” she says. Which brought her to the hunters. “We keep talking about the problem of hunting and poaching, but who are these people and why do they do what they do? These are things that I wanted to know,” she explains. She will be continuing her research for two more years and won’t restrict herself to any one medium — sketches or animations — and plans to eventually put up her work on some social media platform. “The idea is to make these stories accessible to everyone who is interested,” she concludes. (*)

This article wrote by Somudra Banerjee

Save

Arts & Culture

Jayapura presents Tanah Merah Maritime Festival in November

Published

on

By

The coastal indigenous dance performed at the Tanah Merah Maritime Festival last year. – Jubi / Engel Wally

Sentani, Jubi – the Local government of Jayapura District started a campaign introducing the Maritime Festival of Tanah Merah (FBTM) that will be held from 19 to 21 November 2018 in Entiyebo, Tablanusu Village, Depapre Sub-district.

FBFM, which held in 2014 for the first time, is part of the annual tourism agenda of the local government along with the Lake Sentani Festival.

The Acting Head of Culture and Tourism Office of Jayapura District Benyamin Yerisetouw said his office has campaigned about this event to some village heads and community leaders in the five coastal sub-districts within the district.

“Our target is, by 19 to 21 November, all communities can participate in this event, in particular, those from the coastal areas, as well as domestic and international tourists,” Yerisetouw explained when met in his office on Friday (9/14/2018).

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Indonesian Commerce of Chamber and Industry of Jayapura District Hengky Yoku said the economic development of the local community relies on its potential resources.

“This area has many activities which can promote the cultural history of the local community. When this comes in forms of festival or performance, there is an economic value that resulted from transactions of local community and visitors who attend the event.” (*)

 


Reporter: Engel Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Taparu in Kamoro socioculture

Published

on

By

Kamoro women when sorting out sago caterpillars. – Jubi / Doc

Mimika, Jubi – Each clan in Kamoro has ‘taparu’ or a specific location as a place to find food sources when they encircle rivers and mangroves in the lowland estuary of Mimika District.

A Dutch anthropologist J Power states ‘taparu’ is a local terminology emphasizing the relations of land and its inhabitants. “There are also the names of surrounding neighborhoods taken from the ancestral names,” as written in a book “Taparu Fratri of Mimika-Kamoro ethnic groups in Hiripau Village, East Mimika District, Mimika Regency”, by Dessy Pola Usmany et al. from the Ministry Education and Culture Directorate General of Culture Papua Cultural Value Conservation Center, 2013.

‘Taparu’ itself is more related to groups who inhabit within this region or surrounding environment as Kamoro people always encircle the river and sago forest for catching fish or gathering food. Everyone knows their own ‘taparu’.

‘Taparu’ in Kamoro language means the land, while Sempan people call it ‘se iwake’. If someone wants to mark the land he passes in gathering food, he solely adds the prefix ‘we’ such as tumamero-we and efato-we in Omawka village.

Similarly, people in Nawaripi village also do the same. Their areas are including Tumukamiro-we, Viriao-we, and Iwiri-we. All of these names reflect the relationship between the land and inhabitants.

Meanwhile, like the majority of Kamoro people, Ojibwa people believe in the power of their late patrilineal clan that depicted in the symbols of animals. The anthropologists call these symbols with totems which mean a belief that embodies a symbolic representation of society.

Unfortunately, today taparu also face the severest challenges of sedimentation due to tailings of mining activity that cause the silting of river and discolouration of Mollusca habitat in the estuary of Mimika District. (*)

 

Reporter: Dominggus Mampioper

Editor: Pipit Maizier

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Soedarmo: Papuan Coffee promoted in Boston and Paris

Published

on

By

The atmosphere of Papua Coffee Festival – Jubi / Alexander Loen

Jayapura, Jubi – Acting Papua Governor Soedarmo said Provincial Government is going to promote Papuan coffee to Boston and Paris shortly.

He revealed this agenda to reporters when opened the Papua Coffee Festival held in the parking of Bank Indonesia. Banks, local entrepreneurs and coffee farmers participated in this event.

“So, we are not only promoting Papuan coffee domestically but also abroad. Through our partner, we will participate in a coffee exhibition in Boston, whereas in September, I am going to send a team to participate in the exhibition held at the Eiffel Tower,” said Soedarmo on Friday (08/03/2018) in Jayapura.

According to him, the taste of Papuan coffee is not less delicious compared to coffee from other Indonesian regions or even other countries, because he has compared it with others. “I have met with the former Colombian Ambassador; then we compared Papuan coffee with Colombian coffee. But Papuan coffee is still better,” he said.

In the same place, Jayapura Mayor Benhur Tommy Mano claimed the municipal government is ready to support the provincial government in developing local commodities by promoting the local food in every event held by the municipal government.

“Indeed, we are not growing coffee here in Jayapura Municipality, but we are the biggest coffee connoisseurs,” Mano said. (*)

 

Reporter: Alexander Loen

Editor: Pipit Maizier

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending