Faces of East Timor opening

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Please click here to see photos of the opening night.

Dr Stephen Weller ACU Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer hosted a wonderful celebration of East Timorese art and photography on Thursday 11 July at the McGlade Gallery Strathfield. The exhibition was hosted in support of the Future in Youth program which promotes health wellbeing and life skills to youth through sport in East Timor, Dr Ross Smith the Program Manager spoke to guests about the impact of the program. It was no coincidence then that two exercise science alumni of the program Pat Nichol and Lauren Shiel drove all the way from Melbourne for the occasion. Artists Tony Amaral and Tristan Velasco addressed the audience explaining their inspiration for painting and taking photos.

The Faces of East Timor exhibition showcases large portrait photos of East Timorese taken by multimedia artist Tristan last year in Baucau and the neighbouring village of Ossoala. Future in Youth was also captured in photo essays displaying the soccer talents of local youth attending the program. Tristan gave anecdotes of how having a camera transcended the language barrier and allowed him to capture the children’s expressions and attitudes. 

East Timorese artist Tony worked for six months on his large masterpiece entitled Freedom of Speech.

In describing his intricate work he said “I paint my tradition, the ancestors, the spirits, but I never have seen them, these things are from the old lulik. I like to paint about something that I am scared of, and something that I never imagined. I paint from the stories I am told; for example, when I was little grownups might say ‘be careful with the dark’, and then mention someone who has died, or an ancestor with one eye, or a certain name. Then they would say, you might dream or see this ancestor and Timorese revere their ancestors.

I have never seen my old lulik because of the new religion, (Catholic). Timorese have two ways of believing, Catholic and animism and the two often get mixed up. In the districts the people might do old lulik before the mass starts. Some traditional symbols of animist religion often decorate the outside of the Catholic churches in Timor.”

There were also exhibits by Ros Dunlop, whose book Sounds of the Soul and documentary on traditional Timorese music were on display as well as an interesting video by Dean Allen-Craig on the Future in Youth program.

ACU Foundation organised the exhibition to raise awareness and support of the Future in Youth program. For more information please contact us.