Papua posing a part of the East Indonesia region has a wealth of high-valued natural and cultural richness. One of them is the Asmat culture owned by Asmat ethnic in Asmat County as the result of fission of Merauke County, located in South Papua and overlooks the Arafura Sea. On February 13, 2011, the Asmat received recognition from the UNESCO as a world heritage site that should be maintained and preserved. It is one of the Indonesia’s cultural icons having a distinctive value to be developed into a tourism paradise in eastern Indonesia. To keep on introducing such valuable culture, it will be held the Asmat Cultural Festival on October 15-19, 2013 at the Yos Sudarso Square, Asmat County, Papua Province. The Asmat Cultural Festival actually has been held since 1981, but was stopped a few times. Then, the festival was regularly held back every year, aiming to preserve the values of Asmat culture, especially for younger generation.
The Asmat community consisting of 12 sub-ethnics, each has a characteristic reflected by their work of art. Similarly, it also happens to the wood used, when observed carefully then we will be able to find the difference clearly. Some sub-ethnic crafters accentuate their carving statues, while the others accentuate a shield and carving of wall ornament and the war equipment.
The 4-day the festival will be enlivened with cultural exhibition of typical Asmat wood carvings denoting the objects with high artistic value. Asmat has been known for its original and unique works of art. Asmat artists are able to make the work of carvings without making a sketch in advance but directly expressing their imagination in the making of each object or events around them. The most special and unique is that every sculpture is not the same or duplicated. It happens because they do not produce the same carving pattern in large scale. So, if we have the Asmat carving of particular pattern, it is the only one. Asmat people never make carving of the same pattern. Probably, their shapes are the same, but their pattern must be different. It is the uniqueness of the Asmat carvings. A wood carving they make is closely related to the ancestral spirits. Thus, it is not solely regarded as an ordinary work of art and many of them are created to be a symbol of war and the worship to the ancestors. “To attend the Asmat Cultural Festival 2013, visitors can take a Garuda Indonesia serving the flight from Jakarta and Denpasar to Timika and then continue the travel by small plane to Ewer District. From Ewer District, it is resumed by a speed boat ride to reach Agats. Alternatively, visitors can take Merpati Airlines flying from Jayapura to Mozes Kilangin Airport in Timika. Meanwhile, Susi Air also operates to local destination in Papua, including from Timika to Ewer,” said Datang from the Papua Adventure Tour. (BTN/014)