Posts from July, 2011

July 18, 2011

Joey L on the Mentawai.

The Mentawai, Behind the Scenes Documentary from Joey L on Vimeo.

This is not a new story but one that totally blows my mind. Famed photographer, Joey L., walked away from glam life and into the Indonesian rainforest, to capture and maybe help preserve the lives and livelihood of the Mentawai. The behind-the-scenes video is a bit long but worth it and better than the trailer itself (available here).

Taken from famed photographer Joey L’s blog directly:

The Mentawai are a tribe of people living in the rainforest of Siberut, Indonesia. Siberut is a remote island off the coast of Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. With the exception of owning pigs and cultivating sago, the Mentawai are hunter/gatherers looked after with devotion by their medicine men- the Sikeri, or Shamans. These are the healers of the tribe, who practice a form of animism called Jarayak. The Mentawai also practice one of the oldest forms of tattooing, which represent the important elements in their lives.

The current state of the Mentawai people collectively is much different than it was 100 years ago. There are a few government-established villages where the majority of the population live. The children are going to school, the adults are working, infastructure is weak but is starting to resemble that of the rest of Indonesia- “developed” and prodiminately muslim. However, outside the villages in the rainforest, there are still a handful of scattered clans of the traditional Mentawai. Those in the rainforest choose to live away by choice, and isolate themselves away from the assimilation of the government villages. These small, and rapidly declining number of people still live the legend of their ancestors.

The Indonesian government set up the villages in order to bring the tribes away from their “primitive” and “savage” practices and to “civilize” the culture. Missionaries are plenty on the island and convert Mentawai. In my own experience, it’s important to note that the missionaries themselves are usually peace loving people seeking what they believe to be righteous, so it is very difficult to judge either party. Progress is a double-edged sword, my only concern is that progress does not always have to inspire change by force. I believe that technology and education are tools that can actually be used to preserve a culture, while providing the necessary guidance into the modern world. The clans that remain are enduring and have survived on their own for a long time, but are now threatened and fragile. Although change is inevitable, there cannot be only one way to live, one way to perceive the world- humanity needs diversity to sustain itself.


July 14, 2011

Luka Yang Updates

The super talented Luka Yang published a portfolio site with loads of new work to devour. When I first saw her work a few years ago, I was completely enamored with the ethereal, yet organic feel of her work; it’s nice to see that while she’s still exploring that aesthetic, she’s also finding focus in her conceptual pursuits. I like that she’s embracing her Chinese experience in her ongoing series ‘Chinese Landscapes;’ it’s not that her work in that series has changed dramatically over the past couple of years, but the combination of her latest photos (like the one above) and her formally selecting the images for the series makes all of her work seem a bit more poignant. On top of that, she’s also recently been pursuing distinctly new aesthetic & conceptual approaches. I’m looking forward to seeing where her portfolio will be in a few years time.


July 13, 2011

puffed peonies

Puffed Peonies is the Etsy shop of Illinois-based artist Brittany Jackson. I love the simple shapes and color palates in her prints, they would go great in any room. I want one for my new apartment! You can check out more prints in her shop.


July 11, 2011

MOMENTUS, Curated by Evan Stremke

MOMENTUS is an illustrated series of defining moments in American History.  Stremke, a talented designustrator in his own right and apparent history buff, hand picked a crew of seriously-also-talented designy folks to do all the work of putting historical moments into pictures.  Though it appears as though he’s finally given himself a moment to work on as well.  They are being regularly released every few days or so until the end of the month, so check em out now, or follow EvanStremke on twitter if you want to know when the next one is released (and also don’t mind a lot of really randomly weird commentary).  Above and below are a few of my favorites so far, but check out the rest on the site.



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