a couple of lads from arte moris baucau are in melbourne for an exhibition of their work in box hill. it's at the box hill community arts centre and is well worth a visit. i had fun walking through melbourne with them and, whilst they didnt get the chance to paint themselves, surprise, surprise, they found some of the city's tangled, and beautifully painted laneways the perfect place to pose.
yahya lambertz is a photographer and artist residing in dili, east timor.
he is originally from indonesia. whilst his country's military scorched east timor, he remained peacefully committed to the independence of the country.
for yahya, each craft informs the other. he has established an art school, sanggar masin (salt of the earth), that provides classes to students and opportunities to pursue scholarships in indonesia.
he's a very gentle, yet passionate fellow.
'through this period of independence, timor has wanted to move forward. it is not just journalists, not just parliament and not just the government that are going to carry timor forward. every person has to be included. those that write graffiti must also shout and campaign about how timor is to move forward. what is not right? then graffiti must express what is not right. what is right? then graffiti must express what is right.
'graffiti gives people the power to participate. it is a wonderful way to collaborate across communities. wonderful. artists can enter communities, talk, get to know communities and, together, they can move forwards.'
a couple of kind, and rather eminent, individuals have generously contributed some words of endorsement towards peace of wall. in no particular order:
t r i s t a n m a n c o (art director | author | designer)
'with admirable dedication chris parkinson has produced an evocative piece of photojournalism - capturing an important moment in east timor's history through its walls... this book alerts us to the cultural value of graffiti and street art for public expression, rehabilitation and community building.'
d r j o s e r a m o s - h o r t a (president of east timor | nobel peace laureate)
'all graffiti, as chris has demonstrated, is at least an act of therapeutic expression for young people, a release, and a vehicle that enables the voiceless to be heard. in a country in which personal storytelling is still one of the most important and populare means of expression, i treasure all of the voices equally and i share in the beauty, and the pain, of what i see. i hope that you, too, will see what i see.'
a n t h o n y l a p a g l i a (actor)
'deeply moving and beautifully presented, the raw expression here tells the harrowing and inspirational story of east timor.'
a selection of images from peace of wall will be exhibited in the fotofreo festival, fremantle, western australia from march 20 thru april 18.
the images are part of a group exhibit entitled growing pains: timor leste 10 years on. it will be held in the moores building contemporary art gallery.
fotofreo is a month long international photography festival held every two years in fremantle, western australia.
the fotofreo 2010 festival will be comprised of a series of photographic exhibitions curated by fotofreo inc in dedicated venues including the fremantle arts centre, the western australian maritime museum, the moores building contemporary art gallery, and the fremantle prison. the festival will also host evenings of audio visual projections, panel discussions, lectures, conversations between professionals, a series of forums and lectures, floor talks, book launches, screenings of films about photography and a number of workshops including 3 run by photographers of magnum photos.
so if you're in the neigbourhood, do pop down.
the kind folk at affirm press have published peace of wall: street art from east timor. their website has more information on their publishing quest to influence by delight.
the book was designed and typeset by the lovely racket.
links to their respective websites can be followed beneath the words click click.
arte moris (art is life) is one of those places in our world where hope resonates and the future is cultivated. the shared spirit that shapes its community is boundless in its vision. its compound is, at once, family, commune, art school, music school, theatre school, life school, permaculture school and a place where tradition and history meet the present and mould a culture of a peaceful future. knowing the people behind this vibrant community has been a privelige. the following images have been taken, compiled and supplied by arte moris with the supervision of alfeo sanches - dear friend and funny man. the images are from june 2008 - june 2009. it would appear that we are only just seeing the beginning of something highly poignant in the post-conflict and post-colonial discourse of east timor.
"through these words - the words that we write - we don't write words about division and separation. we just write words about peace. we write, like, how can we strengthen unity in east timor?"
"in timor, because of the indonesian occupation, we never did anything like this. for those of us that enjoy painting, we didn't see foreigners doing it. noone came and said 'this is good work coming from timor.' this work simply came from within us and it was something that we wanted to express. it's like an expression of liberty."
"youth have a lot of questions, but few answers. they do not know what to do. they have no direction. there is little information for them to make good decisions. they are tired. they feel that they are just getting older and their opportunities are getting fewer. they feel there is no future. they are sick and tired and suffering from having their education stopped. with art, and through art, youth have something to do, and they have something to say. it is our voice."
the images and words adorning the walls of east timor reflect the country's tumultuous history, precarious present and hopeful future. they endow the social landscape with a rawness and honesty not found in other media there, and echo the struggle of new nationhood. peace of wall is widely contradictory, emotionally charged, instantly engaging and consistently dramatic. it's life in east timor.