Image courtesy of Jill Forshee
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East Timor proclaimed national independence from Indonesia in 1999. This ended 25 years of warfare and resistance beginning in 1974, when Indonesia invaded the eastern portion of Timor Island. Prior to this, the region had been a colony of Portugal for over 400 years. Today, East Timor is the poorest country in Southeast Asia, with a long history of rule and oppression by outside forces. Jill Forshee has been gathering accounts from a variety of East Timorese for the past 12 years, asking people to tell their stories in their own terms. Her lecture will focus on textiles and folklore in East Timor, especially the stories that weavers tell of the meanings of cloth and the events in their lives over the past 40 years. We will hear stories from three selected weavers in Forshee’s study.
Jill Forshee holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from UC Berkeley and has worked in the Indonesian archipelago for over 20 years. Currently she is collaborating with Roy Hamilton, UCLA Fowler Museum, on a museum exhibition and book on Timor island. This research builds on earlier work and collaborations that were part of Weavers' Stories of Island Southeast Asia, an exhibition, video, and catalogue produced by the Fowler Museum.