UNESCO has launched a number of activities to revive traditional
weaving and local museums in Indonesia following a series of damaging
earthquakes in August and September 2018.
Much of the earthquake damage was centred in Lombok, home to a weaving culture
that dates back to the arrival of Islamic traders in the 16 th century.
Local weavers in the villages of Bayan Beleq and Pringgasela
in particular saw their work severely disrupted by the earthquakes,
leaving many unable to practice and transmit this rich form of
intangible cultural heritage.
In response, and with the support from UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund ,
UNESCO is working with local officials, the Ministry of Education
and Culture, as well as disaster management authorities on an assessment of
the affected villages. This assessment will help identify the technical assistance
and support needed to ensure the continuation, sustainability and
resilience of Bayan and Pringgasela weaving. The results of
the post-earthquake assessment and interventions will be showcased
through an exhibition, which will include digital archives of the woven motifs
and first-hand accounts from the residents of Lombok
as they work to recover their weaving industry.
This emphasis on recovering intangible cultural heritage
in the wake of disasters is something that has been championed
by UNESCO is recent years. “While there is a growing recognition of
the need to protect heritage sites and museums against disasters,
protecting other aspects of heritage, such as the traditional knowledge,
skills and practices, during the emergency response and recovery phases
also needs attention,” said the UNESCO Jakarta Office Director, Dr Shahbaz Khan.
“Intangible cultural heritage is often a source of livelihoods and
social cohesion for local communities, and its recovery is essential
for building resilience against disasters.”
Sri Hartini, Head of the Nine Penenun weaving group in Pringgasela,
East Lombok, says the local tradition of weaving is not only a source of
income, but also a way of life: “It is also part of our cultural identity,
which we inherited from our ancestors and which we feel committed to preserve”.
The Museum of Central Sulawesi in the city of Palu also suffered
enormous damage as a result of the earthquake and tsunami of September 2018.
Approximately 70% of its collection, which includes a rich array of
traditional beaten bark, textiles and 17th century Chinese and
Japanese ceramics, was damaged. To aid in the museum’s recovery,
the Heritage Emergency Fund supported UNESCO’s work with the
Tokyo Restoration and Conservation Centre (TRCC) to mitigate
the museum’s losses and undertake urgent safeguarding measures.
These included the recovery and restoration of damaged archives
and artefacts, capacity building by way of a study visit
by the Museum’s Deputy Director and others to Japan, to learn techniques
used to protect artefacts in the event of disasters,
and a public education campaign.
“While the post-disaster damage assessment and rescue of the collection
requires immediate action, capacity building for restoration
and disaster risk reduction planning is a far longer process,”
said Isamu Sakamoto of the TRCC. “We also hope to mobilize local youth
and identify their role in supporting museums during a disaster.”
Provided by the IKCEST Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Service System