Documentasaun Tradisaun Suai Camenasa

Hatene ami-nia moris | Know our World

The works and artefacts of the exhibition showcase the cultural heritage research work conducted by Timor Aid in 2014 with the village communities of Suai Villa, Matai, Holbelis, Lohorai, Camenaça and Suai-Loro villages, making a record of their material and intangible cultural heritage as it stands today, before the inevitable changes that time and displacement will bring.

The centerpiece of Timor-Leste's 2011-2030 Strategic Development Plan is the Tasi Mane Project, a corridor of petroleum infrastructure along the southwest coast of the country. This area is almost entirely agriculture land, the food source gardens of the local villages, and includes both domestic houses in small hamlets, and the ceremonial houses and sacred graves in remnant forest areas that are the basis of the spiritual and cultural life of the communities The sucos (villages) of Matai, Suai, Labarai lie around the town of Suai Villa.

Holbelis is the area just nearby, and the village of Camenaça is on the outskirts of town. All these places, called here collectively Suai-Camenaça after the old kingdom, are places of the Tetun and Bunak peoples.The research being undertaken is collaborative work between the communities of Suai-Camenaça and Timor Aid. The aim of the research is to record the cultural practices, providing an opportunity for reviving memories of craft practices and language usage, recounting beliefs and reaffirming the importance of place and ritual. When culture is recorded and celebrated, it supports the strengthening and empowerment of a community.

During 2014, Timor Aid visited the communities on many occasions, to photograph people and places, record language as it is spoken, learn more about the textiles and the ceramics, survey the ecology and the ethno-botanic uses of local plants, and learn about traditional beliefs, ceremonies and history. The exhibition shows some of that land, and the way people live on it, and features treasured textiles and also artefacts made expressly by the communities of Suai-Camenaça, drawn from The National Collection of Timor-Leste, Timor Aid Collection, Alola Foundation Collection, Private Collections in Timor-Leste.