Unique traditional and modern woodcarvings from Kamoro Tribe, Papua exhibited at CCCL Gallery. The Kamoro also showed their finesse in dancing with traditional music wearing ethnic costume. Surabaya, Idonesia. 25th November 2011
Unique traditional and modern woodcarvings from Kamoro Tribe, Papua exhibited at CCCL Gallery. The Kamoro also showed their finesse in dancing with traditional music wearing ethnic costume.
The Kamoro Art Program supported by PT. Freeport Indonesia has enabled more than 300 carvers over the last 5 years to find their own creatives voices, through paving the way by co-sponsoring events with partners like the American, Mexican, Swiss and Belgian Embassies, French, International Schools, internal Freeport events, and a three weeks appearance at the Rijksmuseum Voor Volkerkunder Leiden.
Dr. Kal Muller (68), American-Hungarian ethnolog, who lived 20 years together with Kamoro tribe in South Coast of Papua, accompanied The Kamoro in any events as Freeport's Art Buying Program leader. Muller regularly visits these farflung village which seldom see any outsiders, to pay for sold carvings and buy new stocks. The Kamoro are an ethno-linguistic group. They are about 18,000 lovely peoples, call home a 250-odd kilometer stretch of coastline on the southern shore of Central Papua. The traditional life-style are semi-nomadic hunting, gathering, and fishing tribe on the Northern shore of Arafura Sea, in South-Central Papua, Indonesia. Today, under Indonesia Government and Roman Catholic influence, tey live in fairly permanent villages, only very occasionally shifting location.
"Through these frequent events, about 400 artworks are sold in a year. Talent aside, it has become a viable and much needed source of income as the proceeds go directly to the carvers. Many have been able to benefit from it as a part-time career as they still live as hunter-gatherers. And with little or no education, jobs requiring modern technological skills are out of their reach. Living far from town does not make it possible to bring produce to market," said Muller.
The Kamoro Art history begin in the mid 1930s both the Dutch and Indonesian Administration and Catholic Church discouraged it. So little was done that by the late 1990s it was on the brink of death.
The Kamoro Art rebirth in 1998 when The Kamoro Cultural Festival was held for Kamoro people sponsored by PT. Freeport Indonesia. The festival included an auction of the very best carvings, picked by an outsider who had a good working knowledge of artistic quality. Freeport support this yearly festival till now.
The Kamoro called themselves the "People of the Wood", because they originally were wooden statues fabrcated and generated by their culture hero, Fimbiriw.
The succes of The Kamoro Art Festival was measured by the people themselves, by the eagerness of moremen in the following years wanting to learn how to carve, to be a part of the auction, the rise in the level of both creativity and skill, the growing desire of the older and more experienced to teach and start workgroups with their own apprentices.
The principal of Kamoro carvings fall into several categories. Lately, the quality of a wide variety of art pieces of both traditional and contemporary forms, as well as women's plaited products has improved considerably.
Kamoro Art new "Free Creation" become new trend in Kamoro motifs. Since the new category contested in the auction that would allow the carvers to freely create new forms without losing the essence or key elements of Kamoro motifs, it was a shot in the dark, but it has paid off handsomely in ways no one could have ever expected. They had no reference books, no pictures-nothing from them to copy from and yet ideas coming some, bizarre, some so Piccaso esque, and now some sophisticatedly stylistic that you have to wonder.
The Kamoro Art which famous are Mbitoro, Yamate, Wemawe, Pekoro, Otekapa, Wapuru, Eme, Mbii Kao Spirit Mask, Free Creation Carvings, Women's Clothing and handbags, Canoe and Paddles, Sago, and Tambelo. Woods that used to carve are iron wood, damar wood, and prau wood. The price variated from Rp. 50,000 to Rp. 2,000,000.