[by Mário Linhares in East-Timor, Southeast Asia]
The gold months when people travel are coming! Maybe because of that I wanted to share my drawings from the last trip to East-Timor.
Most of the people don't know where East-Timor is. Half of an island, had big troubles to be independent from Indonesia, after they invaded the country in 1975 when the Portuguese administration was to messy with the Portuguese Revolution to take care of what was going on that side of the planet. The result? A massacre you can see and read some highlights here.
Why I know all of this? Because my wife, Ketta, was born there and her family ran away from Indonesian militaries to Lisbon, Portugal in 1986. Today, in Europe, we talk a lot about refugees and I think it's fair enough to bring this old story to life again!
East-Timor is like a lost paradise. Portuguese government didn't invest almost anything there, so the island is still in a pure state. I was there in 2009 and, six years later, they have more structures, but the majority of the island is still like ever was.
The feeling, sketching in those beautiful beaches, is that we need more like we find there. Everything looks so transparent...
The famous massacre on the cemetery of Santa Cruz (Saint Cross) in 1991 occurred because people wanted to honor Sebastião Gomes, a young boy killed by the Indonesian army some days before.
Last August 2015, Ketta's family took me there, we talked with a lot of survivors about their amazing stories lived there and at the end, we did one sketch together with her cousins. It was a strong moment...
The most traditional and famous handicraft objects made there is "Tais" - a 100% hand made fabric. The fabrics for men's have stylized animals on it. For women's, they use black for specific traditional events (marriage and funerals) and with line colors and symbolic patterns for clothing/costume or used as units of exchange.
Here, I found Filomena Moniz, one of the Tais maker. She make that on a loom in one part of her kitchen. All the ambience is dark and smoky, but that's a kind of experience to be there sketching!
Ketta, with her Laloran project, uses Tais fabric on some special sketchbooks she made.
If you want to read all my East-Timor reportage, take a look here.