This letter requesting support comes from Tomás Dietz who is trying to raise funds to help him record the work of the last remaining potter in a Motu village in his mother’s country, in Papua New Guinea:
I’m writing to you to ask if you would be able to support a project of cultural preservation, revival and development of traditional Motu pottery in PNG, under ‘Project Gida’ at Boera Village. I had been consulting with the late Margaret Tuckson on this project, who expressed great enthusiasm and encouragement for this project to be realised. I was going to involve her in the Project, but sadly it was not to be.
The field work is essentially to document the knowledge and oral history of the last surviving Motu potter in Boera village. The outcome would be to produce a detailed technical training video as well as a general interest video about traditional Motu pottery.
Using this information I would investigate and implement educational programs to return relevance of this tradition to modern Motuans, to bring about a renewed source of meaning, artistry and pride, and therefore a revival of its practice. I also plan to launch activities in Australian communities where Motu Koita people are based, thereby introducing an Australian chapter into this Project and thus developing another opportunity for cross-cultural experience for Australian communities.
Project Gida is non-profit, community-oriented, and specifically implemented to provide long-term benefit to the thousands of Motu people in PNG’s Central Province as well as to those living abroad. It promises to provide further significant flow-on benefit to the community at large in terms of cross-cultural education and tourism.
I am implementing this project on my own steam, and so I am hoping to receive donations from my community to help enable this important project. I am hoping that your members would be interested to donate to this cause.
ALLOCATION OF FUNDS:
Funds will be used to buy airfares and visas to take a small documentary team of 4 people from Sydney to Boera. It’s hoped that funds will be sufficient to cover other project expenses, such as accommodation, food, archival recording equipment, and field work vehicle hire.
The Project will run for three weeks in early January 2015. There are four Project Team members: the Team Leader, a photographer, a videographer and a research assistant.
Boera is a relatively isolated Motu village about an hour’s drive from Port Moresby. It once had a thriving pottery industry and was one of the most prolific centres of high quality pottery production until about the early 1950s when the process of westernisation brought this ancient industry to an end. Sadly, the situation was reflected in all the Motu villages, including Hanuabada, Porebada and Manumanu and to my knowledge, no attempts have yet been made to implement any programs of cultural preservation in this field.
That is why I have stood up and have made the commitment to make the difference. I am Australian, of Motu descent, and I will not sit by and watch this ancient heritage die without doing something about it.