General Friday September 21, 2012 15:57
The Indonesian island of Sumba is well-known for its ancient traditions, its surfing beaches and, most of all, its flamboyant handmade textiles. Sumbanese textiles are used as clothing, in ceremonies and as valuables for exchange. Most importantly, they accompany the dead as wealth for the afterlife, and they provide heirloom for descendants. Sumbanese ikat weaving, especially when executed with traditional materials and methods, is of exquisite quality and requires great skill, which the islanders are rightly proud of.
Olivo Miotto is Senior Informatics Fellow Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok. Both Olivo and Tracy are avid textile collectors with an impressive collection of Indonesian pieces.
Over a few visits to the island, we acquired a number of pieces from weavers in the villages. Each piece tells a small story, and provides images of Sumbanese life, ritual and belief. Our little “collection” is by no means a comprehensive exhibit, it only represents the story of our travel there, our involvement with the islanders, with their ceremonies and their culture. To illustrate the context in which these textiles are made and worn, we will present some images from our travels to the island.