Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua hosted its first independent film festival this week, showing documentaries on social issues such as land rights and grinding poverty, but steering clear of the highly sensitive subject of separatism.
The festival, hosted by a local filmmakers’ community, screened 10 amateur documentaries in the town of Merauke on Aug. 7-9. The organiser said the festival attracted 600 people.
The organisers, Papuan Voices, said the festival aimed to show “a new perspective that places Papua as a subject in seeing and determining its own future and contributing to ending the injustice in the land of Papua”.
Papua is one of the poorest regions in Indonesia despite being rich in resources like natural gas, copper and gold.
It has suffered an often violent separatist conflict since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised U.N.-backed referendum in 1969. Dutch colonial rule ended in 1963.
Organiser Urbanus Kiaf said by telephone that all the films were passed by Indonesia’s censorship board without being cut or censored, but plain-clothed police attended some screenings.
“They asked for explanations of what the story was for each of the films and they asked for a list of names of the organising committee, but otherwise they just watched,” he said.
Kiaf said the poverty shown in the films was a symbol of “economic and intellectual oppression” and how Papuans often lacked land rights, after selling to investors cheaply.
One example was the film that won third place.
Director Elisabet Apyaka said her film, “For Novalinda and Andreas”, showed how a single mother had raised her two children by selling taro, banana and betel on a small patch of rented land.
“This shows that Papuan women are the head of families here, they get up early to do house chores, work in their garden and feed their kids,” Apyaka said.
The fact that the festival went ahead was a sign of progress in Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s efforts to open up Papua, said Human Rights Watch’s researcher Andreas Harsono, adding that it would have been banned in the past.
Widodo has given clemency to a number of political prisoners in Papua who were unfairly prosecuted and imprisoned for exercising their rights of freedom of expression, Harsono said.
However, a report by the International Coalition for Papua said there was a significant aggravation of Papua’s human rights in 2015 and 2016.
Rights groups also recently accused police of lethal force on people protesting against a construction company, by shooting dead one person and wounding 16.(*)
Editor : Zely Ariane
International award for film about journalism in West Papua
Papua, Jubi – A short documentary which highlights the risks of being a journalist in Indonesian-ruled Papua region, or West Papua, has won an international film award.
Aprila, directed by Rohan Radheya, took out the best short film award at the 16th Pacific Fifo Documentary Film Festival in French Polynesia.
The Dutch journalist and film-maker’s documentary tells the story of a young local journalist who stopped doing her job after receiving death threats.
According to Fifo’s website, audience members in Tahiti expressed interest in the insight the film offered into a region and freedom struggle largely unknown to the world.
Mr Radheya said while international attention on Papua often focused on restrictions that Jakarta placed on access for foreign journalists, the plight of local journalists was ignored.
“What we endure as foreign journalists is nothing compared to what local indigenous journalists in Papua are facing,” he said. (*)
Archaeological research to reveal cultural history in Papua and West Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – There is not much archaeological research have done in the provinces of Papua and West Papua. Therefore, the Archeological Centre of Papua Province has deployed researchers to conduct archaeological research that took place in several areas in both provinces.
The areas of research are the Berau Bay of Fak-fak Regency, Fort du Bus of Kaimana Regency, Yahoto prehistoric cave, Beanenbala Naguhi 1 Cave, Beanembala Naguhi 2 Cave of Keerom Regency and Srobu Mountain site of Jayapura Municipality. The research also traced the Austronesian speakers in Nabire Regency, the early prehistoric residential trails in Sentani Lake as well as explored the cultural footprint of Austronesian speakers in Raja Ampat Regency.
The researchers then presented their findings on 11-12 December 2018 in a hotel located in Jayapura City.
In his presentation,a researcher Klementin Fairyo who led the expedition to the prehistoric cave sites in Keerom Regency explained that the purpose of his research is to discover the function of the cave based on the cultural findings as well as to know the cultural characteristic of people living in the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
“There are a lot of caves found in the border area of Papua and Papua New Guinea, and this needs further investigation,” he said on Wednesday (12/12/2018) in Jayapura.
Meanwhile, Hari Suroto who led an identification of early prehistoric settlement in Sentani Lake area said the lake has produced many sources of food and become a source of clean water for people living nearby.
In the meantime, the Head of the Papua Archeology Centre Drs. Gusti Made Sudamika made an analogy that Papua is like a virgin who has not been touched by humans. Therefore, the archaeologists in Papua should conduct further research in this region.
“And the priority of research would not only cover the coastal areas but the mountainous areas as well, precisely the Baliem Valley, Wamena,” he said.(*)
Reporter: David Sobolim
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Expo – Waena Museum and Arts Centre, the forgotten asset
Artists and cultural observers of Papua encourage the revitalisation of Expo-Waena Museum and Arts Centre.
the museum and arts centre where located in the city border –the border between Jayapura Municipality and Jayapura Regency—is supposed to be able to accommodate all activities related to arts and cultural performances, such as traditional music concerts, culturally related discussions, painting and other art exhibitions, literary and journalism activities, et cetera.
Titus Krist Pekei, the initiator of noken recognition to UNESCO, told Jubi on Wednesday, 7 November 2018, that Papua Provincial Government should pay serious attention to this museum.
According to him, if the museum is well-managed, it would become the arts and cultural centre of Papua Province. Further, It should accommodate all culturally related activities, ideas and creative works of Papuan tribes. “It would become an entrance for people to get to know Papua,” he said.
He further asked the Cultural Office of Papua Province to have a partnership with all parties to revive the activities and art performance in this art centre and museum. “Don’t think it only belongs to civil servants, but everyone who has talent,” said Pekei who’s also the Director of Papua’s Ecology.
He took the Noken museum which built several years ago as an example. “The Ministry of Cultural and Education handed over the management of Noken Museum to Papua Government, and the government then assigned it to the Noken Papua Foundation. However, it’s not clear for the Expo-Waena Museum,” said Pekei.
Expo-Waena Museum and Arts Centre was established in the 1980s and the late 1990 and used as a location for development exhibitions in Papua in the 1980s and late 1990s. In 2013, the building was planned to be restored and became the office of Papua People’s Assembly.
The museum has nine main buildings including pavilions for displaying the cultural artefacts of Jayapura, Manokwari, Biak, Jayawijaya, Merauke, Nabire, Serui, Sorong, dan Fakfak. It holds more than three thousand collections of ten types of cultural artefacts, historical and ethnographical objects and other art collections.
Sometimes ago a film community Papuan Voice held a discussion and film screening at Expo – Waena Museum and Art Centre. However, now the museum neglects. Some local artists think it should not happen due to its contribution to the local artists to express their creativity. This place should be well-maintained.
“If talking about art and culture, local artists could not be separated with this place,” said the Secretary of Papuan Arts Council Septinus Rumasep to Jubi in an occasion.
Meanwhile, the Papuan parliament member John N. R. Gobay said the museum and art centre is a crucial asset that has forgotten. This art centre has not occupied since 1996.
“It’s an asset of Papua Provincial Cultural Office. It reflects the Papuan culture and identity. We cannot talk about a nation whose cultural identity is destroyed,” said Gobay who was a former Chairman of Paniai Customary Council.
Moreover, he said the Expo-Waena Art Centre must have art shops that selling traditional souvenirs, cafes, and a library that provides books about Papua. Thus, this will become a cultural centre of Papua. Therefore, he asked the Papua Provincial Government to revitalise it.
“The government should relocate people living near the museum. The government is responsible for protecting the local culture through this art centre. Therefore the regulation No. 8 could be implemented,” he said.
He also appealed the artists to establish an advocacy team and plan a meeting with the governor and parliament member for the revitalization of museum and art centre. “I asked the provincial government to support this by clearing the complex of museum and art centre in Jayapura City,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Papuan artist Semi Simson said the Papua Provincial Government do not pay attention to this museum since long time ago. They must revive this complex as Papuan cultural centre. (*)
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