Update on Myths & Murals
The wet season left Myths and Murals marooned over recent months, but Chris Parkinson reports on some exciting progress.
Next stops for Myths and Murals – through Lospalos, Baucau and Manatuto – were scheduled for April, but then the rains came. And the roads out to the east, dubbed locally as ‘hanesan supermi’ (like noodles) became unpassable. No-one could drive in soupy noodles and the Arte Moris crew was grounded.
Then last week, the rain abated and the caravan of courage and conciliation emerged again from Dili like a warming sun.
Los Palos is at the far east of East Timor and represents the head of the crocodile in the country’s mythology. Engagement and hunger for books again exceeded our expectations. Arte Moris led young people from the community through the process of re-imagining their own region’s myths as a mural in a public space, creating another narrative promoting unity in the country’s independence. In Venilale, a winding detour from Los Palos, the appetite remained much the same. More books. More murals. More smiles. More sunlight. Manatuto echoed the energy and sated the project’s wanderlust during the wet season.
In total, over 1800 Tetun versions of The Boy and the Crocodile book were distributed to eager kids, some of whom have never seen a book before, much less one in their own language and about their own creation myth.
And nine huge murals – painted in collaboration with older youth in each district, and depicting scenes from the creation myth – are left as symbolic reminders of the indomitable spirit of East Timor and the spirit of collaboration itself.
• Distribution and exhibition of the book, Peace of Wall: Street Art from East Timor (Affirm Press, 2010) alongside works presented by our partners Arte Moris (East Timor’s Free Art School);
• A showcase by breakdancer Joseph Richardson and musician Bryan Phillips, working with young East Timorese in Dili and nearby districts;
• A residency by leading comic book publisher Michael Fikaris, working with young East Timorese in Dili on new comic book stories to publish and share between Australia and East Timor.
Myths & Murals continues to gain momentum. If you haven’t already, get on board.
On Saturday, October 12, Chris will be talking at the Graeme F Smith Peace Trust Annual Dinner in Adelaide about some of our journeys.
Photos by Arte Moris’s Mariano Goncalves.