Timor Aid Cultural Program

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Timor Aid is engaged in  the preservation and promotion of the culture heritage of Timor-Leste, particularly safeguarding the tradition of traditional textiles, called tais in the Tetun language.

This work has been an objective of the organisation since the early years of the independence of the country, and remains one of the most important works. 

In recent years, the work has been supported through a large-scale cultural project in both East and West Timor. In Search of a Common Ground: Textile Cultural Traditions in the Island of Timor - their Preservation, Promotion and the Development of Cultural Social Capital was a partnership with Alola Foundation, in Timor-Leste, and Yayasan Tafean Pah in West Timor, with international engagement from  Tropenmuseum (now Museum of World Cultures) in Amsterdam.  This program was funded by the European Union over three years from 2012 - 2015.

Because of the shared heritage of the weaving communities on both sides of the island, the aim of the project was not only to increase the capacity of cultural institutions, but also to  encourage exchange between the two sides of the island of Timor, and conduct research about all aspects of this shared traditions.

Because of the support provided through this umbrella project, Timor Aid has been able to pursue research and display work, with at least one major exhibtion every year since 2009.  In partnership with the Secretary of State for Art and Culture, Timor Aid has researched and documented all the major ethnographic traditions of the textile traditions, and published and displayed the results of this work.

For a close look at all the Timor Aid exhibtions since 2009, both in Timor-Leste and abroad, click here.

For a list of our current research projects, including our work in West Timor, and in documenting the cultural heritage of the Covalima district, click here.

Timor Aid also has a fully searchable database of their extensive collection of Timorese textiles, over 160 cloths, representing all of the major types of tais that form part of this important part of the cultural heritage of the island of Timor.  This database has been developed and put online with the support of the European Union, and will in the future include links to external collections, providing a showcase of the art, both as a repository for weavers, and for a wider audience.