Wednesday, October 18, 2017

1) MPs joining Vanua'aku Pati seen as good for Papua

2) Hundreds of security forces monitor Papua inauguration
3) Exposition of Asmat culture to Italian public

1) MPs joining Vanua'aku Pati seen as good for Papua
3:24 pm today 
Two members of parliament from Vanuatu's opposition have joined a government party in a move described as being good for West Papua.

The Daily Post reporeds that two Sanma Province MPs, Hosea Nevu and Marc Ati, have both left the People's Progress Party.
The leader of the Vanua'aku Pati, Joe Natuman, welcomed the pair into the country's oldest political party at a kava ceremony in Port Vila.
It meant the party now has eight MPs, making it the biggest party in the coalition government led by Charlot Salwai.
Mr Natuman, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, said the move by the two MPs would help mitigate efforts to undermine Vanuatu's interests on West Papua.
He was referring to moves by the People's Progress Party leader Sato Kilman in forging closer ties with Indonesia, in spite of his country's long-running support for West Papuan independence.
According to Mr Natuman, Mr Kilman's previous actions when in government, including supporting Indonesia's entry to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, were not good for Papua.
Mr Kilman recently told RNZ Pacific that in his view the best way to address human rights issues in West Papua was to maintain dialogue with Jakarta.
However he criticised Mr Salwai's government for being inconsistent on foreign policy issues.
2) Hundreds of security forces monitor Papua inauguration
6:24 pm today 

Police in Indonesia's Papua province have defended the heavy security presence at the inauguration of two new regents.

The Jakarta Post reports as many as 500 police and army officers stood guard during the inauguration ceremony in Papua's capital, Jayapura.
The new heads of Papua's Tolikara and Yapen Islands regencies are Usman Wanimbo and Toni Tesar respectively.
Papua's governor Lukas Enembe presided over their inauguration at his office, monitored by the joint security personnel who made attendees go through security screenings.
Jayapura's police chief Tober Sirait said security forces had been deployed to prevent any clashes during the inauguration.
3) Exposition of Asmat culture to Italian public
Milan | Wed, October 18, 2017 | 09:32 am

A glass box containing a wooden sculpture of a human head welcomes visitors of Museo delle Culture (MUDEC/Museum of Culture) in Milan, Italy, while a wall dominated by red presents an illustration of Papua Island.
Through an opening corridor, in a room painted white, various artifacts connected with Papuan people’s daily activities were on display, such as hunting, cooking, farming, war, ritual and decorative equipment, including spears, daggers, shields, body accessories, bags and wall panels.
“The exhibits can give visitors an insight into the aspects related to the daily routines of this ethnic group and the complex tradition observed by the community,” Giorgia Barzetti, the museum curator, said.

smat means people on earth, and the locals call themselves Asmat-Ow to distinguish themselves from spirits.
“In the first collection, we wish to show the aspects of life of the Asmat tribe covering hunting, fishing and sago processing into starch as their main staple food. In the second we display the tools and articles used daily, from the implements for starch-making to accessories for decorating the body such as skirts, head gear, handbags, waistbands, bracelets, necklaces and nose ornaments,” he added.
The second collection also includes original war and ritual equipment, including daggers, arrows and spears along with typical shields.
“The weapons used by Asmat people aren’t just for the practical purposes of hunting and overcoming conflicts with other tribes, but also for rituals and sacred ceremonies, especially when carrying out head hunting,” Barzetti said.
“Legends and old literature indicate that in a tribal war, head hunting was practiced as a very important part of their cultural and spiritual life. The killing was seen to be direly needed because it determines the group’s continuity and welfare having to do with the initiation and transition rite of a young man into adulthood. This also concerns cannibalism, in which the consumption of an enemy’s flesh is believed to transmit the victim’s vital force to the triumphant fighter to gain prestige, power and social status,” Giorgia explained.
However, the “harsh side” of the ethnic group turns into a spectacle of beauty as visitors enter the next room. Red dominates again, with two totems depicting men in a mutual support position, each more than 4 meters high, one in the middle and the other at the end of the room, one vertically erected and the other horizontally laid.
There are also several sculptures in the form of boats complete with rowers. On the right of the room are musical instruments, drums made from wood and animal hide with carvings symbolizing spirits.

“Rather than just engaged in hunting, the Asmats also have their expression of divine veneration as obviously reflected in their works. Their art constitutes a profound combination and total balance between human activities and spiritual rites, as evident in the over 4-meter totems depicting the attempts of Asmat members to remain balanced and mutually sustaining in social life and in the ritual worshipping divine spirits,” Barzetti said.
Asmat myth maintains that men were first born out of wood carved by the tribe founder, Fumeripitsj, who decided to carve several human figures from wood. He later crafted drums from tree trunks and lizard skin. Drum music seemingly infused soul into the figures, causing them to start dancing. This process is believed to have been the way the Asmat people came into being.
With the Fumeripitsj myth, the Asmat tradition has two basic aspects, statues and music. In this room, poles, sculptures, boats, horns, drums, and masks for the funeral ritual reflect the features and characteristics of Asmat culture.
A married couple, Mariangela Fardella and Giorgio Azzaroli, along with three collectors, Maurizio Leigheb, Roberto Fiore and Hans Jansen, take great pride that through their assiduity and love of the Asmat works, they were capable of organizing an exposition entitled Eravamo Cacciatori di Teste (We Were Head Hunters), at MUDEC, which opened on Sept. 26, 2017 and will run until July 8, 2018.
“I highly admire the Asmat people’s principle of social and spiritual relationship. I have deep affection for their originality in living their life and for all their works. This exposition serves as our testimony to reveal our love of this ethnic group and we hope they won’t cease to be immersed in their creative preoccupation,” Mariangela said.
Cesare Galli, 60, an Italian photographer living in Novara city, at the opening function described the great importance of this exhibition and expressed his pride and pleasure to witness the display of Indonesian carvings in Milan.
“I love Indonesia. I love its people and culture. I frequently visit this country. Seeing the collections here heals my longing for Indonesia,” he said with a smile.
An Indonesian government representative, Agung FR, Director of the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Milan, expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the arduous efforts of the collectors to present the cultural features of Indonesia in Italy.
Andi Sri Wahyuni Mandasini, an Indonesian who has lived in Italy for a decade, said it was the first time she had attended an exhibition of Asmat culture with such clarity and detail.
“I’m moved and at the same time ashamed, as some foreign citizens are so concerned and working hard to expose the culture of our community, and we even get acquainted through them. It’s a good lesson for us Indonesians,” she said.

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