Mentawai Tattoo Revival (FULL) - the 2nd video





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Published on Feb 21, 2011

Mentawai Tattoo Revival (FULL) - the 2nd video

This is the International version with English subtittle (Indonesian original version tittle: Kembali Merajah Mentawai)
Contact us if you want to have this DVD.

Since February 2009, Aman Durga Sipatiti (a tattoo artist based in Jakarta), has been visiting Matotonan, Sakuddei and Sagulubbek, the interior of Siberut Island, Mentawai. These visits aim to make documentation of titi or Mentawai tattoo that is nearly "vanish" and remaining only in Siberut Island.

Beside documentation and taking note on the existing design, Durga had done workshop collaboration with Sipatiti (Mentawai tattoo expert) and continue their unfinished tattoo tradition.

Teteu bali told them when her family caught by the local police and taken to Padang because they still practice making tattoo and their ancestral belief, Arat Sabulungan.

In this video documentary, Aman Lusin Kerei Sangaimang (a Sikerei, the tribe elder), told Durga and Berthoes about Arat Sabulungan as a knowledge system, value and rule of life that they strongly hold and inherited from their ancestors of the Mentawai tribe. They believe in the existence of spirit world and soul. Every existing object, alive or dead have a soul and spirit like human. They have to be treated like human. Therefore people can not cut trees carelessly, without the permission of the forest lord (Taikaleleu) also without the willingness of the spirit and the soul from the wood itself.

To maintain the balance and harmony with the spirit world, human and nature, the Mentawai people present various offering and do various rituals.

Now this tattoo tradition nearly "vanished" together with the abandonment of Arat Sabulungan. The decline of this tradition and belief were cause by force and stigmatization towards their ancestral belief. This process happened between 1970s until 1980s with the release of government policy based in the time of Soekarno's government in 1954 -- as the demand of the religious authority of the formal religion acknowledge by the government.

This documentary is a statement. The Mentawai community had their wisdom by living in harmony with their rich nature and for hundreds of years had being put to test through cultural, politic, religious repression including in addressing toward natural disaster. Through this video we want to "provoke" discussion and comprehensive reflection on the importance to understand the life and world of the indigenous community, before formulating social project in the name of modern civilization standard, the natural safety, and also disaster mitigation.


Titi Mentawai (the tattoo tradition in Mentawai language) is an act of expressing
themselves and identity of the Mentawai people inherited throughout their
ancestral line.

Titi also differentiate the combination of Pulaggajat (Pulaggajat: tribe, clan,
community), which characterized the social relation of one another by the mix of
other Pulaggajat with the tattoo pattern of each member.

Titi mean spiritual, connecting directly and representing many things in the Arat
Sabulungan religion.

(Arat: custom, tradition; Sabulungan: spirit that residing in the leaves) Arat
Sabulungan is a knowledge system, value, living rule and original religion that
is hold strongly as the inheritance of the Mentawai tribe. They believe the
existence of spirit world and soul. Every object, live or dead have soul and spirit
like human and have to be treated like a human being. There is no cutting tree
carelessly without the permission of Taikaleleu (the lord of forest, land, mountain)
and without the willingness of the wood spirit and soul itself.

To maintain balance and harmony with the spirit world, human and nature, the
Mentawai tribe present various offerings and doing ritual lead by the Sikerei
(Mentawai tribe elders).

Titi Mentawai & Sikerei = the last fort of Arat Sabulungan. Save the tradition,
the forest and the Mentawai tattoo = save Mentawai.

Location: Matotonan, Sakuddei, Sagulubbek in Siberut island, Mentawai.

Duration: 30 minutes
Produced in 2010
Publiced in 2010


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