“Freedom of Expression” at Arte Moris, Dili, East Timor

arte moris, dili
The term “freedom of expression” could not be more appropriate to describe what Arte Moris is all about.

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.

Like any revolution, paintbrush and canvass has serve as tool for many Timorese to express their identity and culture, to show what their society is about and what changes they wanted to hold.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

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.

Established in 2003 and located at Comoro, Dili (after Leader supermarket and bridge) at an old Indonesian styled building, Arte Moris is more than an art museum.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

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.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

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.

From installation works, to street graffiti, and photography set, each and every corner of the compound is artistically utilized.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

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.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

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.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

Despite the broken ceilings and possibly lack of funding or maintenance, Arte Moris is not lacking of any talent or message to convey.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

Awarded in 2003 by the United Nations Human Rights Prize for the promotion of Freedom of Expression, Arte Moris is a vital part of Timorese future.
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili
arte moris, dili

I hope one day Arte Moris will be internationally recognized for their great work and talent, they  deserve it, no doubt.

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11 thoughts on ““Freedom of Expression” at Arte Moris, Dili, East Timor

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