Taking the most important word for each and every Timorese, “Freedom” in all ways and forms has not been easy for one of the world’s youngest nation.
The 25 years of tumultuous Indonesia military occupation had lead to a country of broken buildings and broken dreams.
On the aftermath of an extremely violent past that led to the country 2002 independence, a brainchild of Swiss artist Luca Gansser with the help of 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner- Dr. Jose Ramon Horta(current East Timor President), Arte Moris was established as one of the first steps towards the society recovery and healing, with particular emphasis on nurturing the talent of its young citizen.
It is a FREE Fine Arts school, a cultural centre and artist’s association haven, operating on an open door policy where any Timorese of all background can attend workshops, use the facilities and art supplies free of charge, under the main objective of developing Timorese individuality, self-esteem and hopefully transferring the skill learned into a livelihood, eventually leading to a better lives.
Unknowingly visiting Arte Moris on a Saturday which supposed to be their closed day, I was greeted and warmly welcome by Victoriano, one of the resident artist. With his hospitality, I toured the facility and can’t believe how effectively beautiful the series of works are.
True to their culture, the predominant theme of Arte Moris is the everyday living and struggles of Timorese. Apart from the use of oil or acrylic medium, it is also notable to mention that they utilize what is easily available and close to their culture and surrounding- wood, sand and Tais.
There is no question on who are the biggest influences for Timorese artists, their faces can be find on almost all street art around Dili and maybe had inspired Timorese on the idea of revolutionary freedom, they are non other than Bob Marley and Che Guevarra.
I hope one day Arte Moris will be internationally recognized for their great work and talent, they deserve it, no doubt.