Photo

Konbaung Dynasty and Luntaya Acheik

Luntaya acheik originated in Konbaung dynasty (1752-1885) and could be worn only by kings and queens. If this new fabric was presented respectfully to the king and queen, a prize would be awarded to the giver. Commoners were not allowed to wear a new one but it could worn the king’s hand-me-downs which is awarded to the outstanding person in the service of the king.

Photographs as memory triggers

Photographs have proven to be interesting tools to get people to open up about themselves and share memories of their past. For instance, the photo of Anwar posing at Phasi Ghar (execution point) not only got him talking about the monument that no longer stands, but also reminded him of his childhood spent dressing up and posing for photographs at various locations in Mehrauli, Delhi.

Mesha Murali: Bus stand se aage. Kahan?  

Inter-Community Dialogue Around Rice: From Kokrajhar Workshop

The Kokrajhar workshop on rice revealed how urbanization and ‘modern’ non-agricultural lifestyle is putting pressure on the practice of rice cultivation. The space for transmitting indigenous knowledge system is shrinking and rice as a site of knowledge and meaning is being challenged, though it continues to be the main staple in the region. With growing number of younger people migrating to urban areas looking for job opportunities and the gradual spread of urbanization process, the biggest challenge is how to sustain productivitity.

Indigo: the Center of ‘Locality’

Similar in many other places in the world, natural dyeing in Taiwan disappeared when the synthetic dye was widely distributed. Taiwan underwent fast modernization during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) that was also when Taiwanese indigo dye production and dyeing went down the lane. As a massive amount of Japanese machine-printed textiles entered the Taiwanese market, local dyeing workshops quickly shut down or turned into dealer shops of ready-made textiles. Since then, Taiwan indigo industry, once prevailing, now only existed in the memory of the elders.

 

Indigo as Pedagogy

Starting 2012, the TNUA Centre for Traditional Arts (CTA) initiated a series of field courses, including indigenous boat making, bark cloth making, banana fiber crafts, ritual parades etc.; the course of ‘Natural Dyeing’ was one of them. These courses aimed to bring students out of the classroom to learn from the soil and different people who give life to traditional arts, and to learn how traditional arts are related to the society and their generation. The 2013 course of ‘Natural Dyeing’, conducted with many partners, was divided into three main stages.

Sub-Theme Discussion in the Course 'Blue Across Borders'

As for the semester of Spring 2019, some changes were made such as the adoption of theme-based group discussion. The students were divided into four discussion groups on (1) language and memory, (2) landscape and place, (3) gender and labour, and (4) market and aesthetics. These four sub-themes were adopted in the HaB methodologies workshop in in October 2018. This new trial helped to open up viewpoints based on cultural and historical understandings acquired in the previous stage.

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