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Wallacea Week 2018 to feature public talks, exhibition

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, October 11, 2018  /  10:04 am
Wallacea Week 2018 to feature public talks, exhibition

The Wallace Line is the faunal divide drawn between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi as well as between Bali and Lombok. (Shutterstock/File)

The annual Wallacea Week returns for seven days from Oct. 11 to 17 at the National Library of Indonesia, Central Jakarta.

Aiming to inspire people to preserve and celebrate diversity of the Wallacea region (the region around the Wallace Line) in Indonesia, the event will feature a varied program, including public talks, documentary screening, exhibition and food tasting.

On Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public talks consist of four sessions, namely Food and Human Genetics, Conservation, Cultural Diversity and Arts and Science and Society. Speakers are Sangkot Marzuki as the past president of the Indonesian Sciences Academy (AIPI) from 2008 until 2018, David J. Smith as a professor from the University of Essex in the United Kingdon, Rahung Nasution as Indonesian chef-director and Agustinus Wibowo as travel writer-photographer.

In a phone interview with The Jakarta Post, Agustinus shared some insight on natural religions along the Wallacean Line, a topic he will present in the program’s third session. He will discuss the funeral ritual aluk to dolo in Toraja, South Sulawesi, and traditional religions in Indonesia.

Read also: Photographer Riza Marlon launches a book on Indonesia’s endemic species

The author of Blanket of Dust ( 2010 ) stated his fascination with the distinctive funeral ceremony in Toraja. “It’s one of the most complicated, expensive, beautiful and joyful rituals,” said Agustinus, adding that the event was full of joyful atmosphere. “Most people perceive death as something scary and full of sadness, but people in Toraja are very strong in facing death.”

“But on the other side, many traditional religions in Indonesia are becoming extinct, because they’re being threatened,” said Agustinus. “I’ll also talk about the causes and what we should do to prevent it from happening.”

Agustinus, who is currently working on a project that takes him across the archipelago, said he hoped people would refrain from perceiving traditional religions in Indonesia as primitive or misguided. “Try to understand the meaning and absorb their wisdom,” he said.

Presented by the British Council Indonesia, Wallacea Week is held to reminisce, conserve and develop the potential of the Wallacea region. The public event is part of the 150 year anniversary of The Malay Archipelago publication, a book written by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who discovered the faunal divide dubbed as the Wallace Line. (wng)