|MJA Nashir's poster for Back to the Villages III|
In 2010 I brought my book Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia to the weavers in North Sumatra, so that they would have a record of their weaving heritage. This was the first Back to the Villages Project.
The results of the journey were so spectacular that I swore to do it again, whenever I had published anew about Batak culture. I made good on my promise. In 2011 I brought copies of my exhibition catalogue, written for our exhibition in Jakarta’s Erasmus Huis to North Sumatra. It was intended especially for the people who figured in the exhibition. The catalogue was entitled Pulang Kampung / Back to the Villages, and it was about the original repatriation project in 2010. MJA Nashir accompanied me on this journey and we distributed copies of his book, Berkelana dengan Sandra, Menyusuri Ulos Batak at the same time. MJA Nashir was the photographer on the original journey and the book was his wonderfully detailed account of the journey. This second Back to the Villages project was relatively small and low key.
In the same year that we conducted Back to the Villages 2, MJA Nashir and I set to work on a film about Batak weaving techniques entitled Rangsa ni Tonun. That film is finally finished and now the time is ripe to conduct our third Back to the Villages project. During this journey, we want to travel as much as possible by boat to the villages around Lake Toba showing our film in a different village every day as soon as the sun goes down.
MJA Nashir has just finished designing the poster for this repatriation project. If we manage to find sufficient funding, the voyage will take place at the end of August and the beginning of September. This time our plans are bigger than ever and we are tailoring the project to focus on the most important facet of the two previous journeys, viz. inspiring pride in the villagers through the sympathetic presentation of their own cultural heritage.
We will use this website and a page that we are building on Facebook as our mouthpieces for the project. Stay tuned!