Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) (aka East Nusa Tenggara, the Eastern Southeastern Islands or the Lesser Sunda Islands) is an Indonesian province as enigmatic as its name. A group over a 110 islands, it is the southern most province of the modern nation of Indonesia. It is the also the closest the two nations of Australia and Indonesia meet – less than 600km in places. Kupang on West Timor is the provincial capitol representing several million people on the islands of Flores, Komodo, Sumba, Sawu, Roti, Solar, Pantar, Lembata and many many more smaller islands, often each with its own language or two.
Tradition in these areas at the time described was strong, as I hope it still is to this day. Some of the best indigenous Indonesian art and weaving in modern times were coming out of this diverse region during much of the 80’s and early 90’s. The cloths of Lembata, West Timor, Flores and a revival of the interest in the fantastic weaving’s of Sumba attracted a flock of motivated researchers and like minded craft people to visit, collect and /or learn from a the vibrant cottage art of ikat.
In homage to this, the only piece of writing on this site not written myself is a scholarly paper presented by James Bennett of Darwin in 1994, an excellent piece on a difficult subject as giving a broad overview of ikat in just a few thousand words. James was also South East Asian curator of MAGNT for several years and, together with the late Dr Peter Spillett, a constant supply of inspiration, criticism and support. I am publishing without authority, so James, if you want to sue me, please contact me first.
I have published extensively on Timor elsewhere so these then are the other pieces I wrote at the time but have been buried in old trunks and boxes for many years.
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