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10 Nancy Ngali, indigo pua kumbu

10 Nancy Ngali, indigo pua kumbu
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10 (27) Indigo pua kumbu by Nancy. Indigo is grown around the longhouse. Two types are grown, tarum and renggat. Indigo requires its own complex set of procedures. In 2004, the Tun Jugah Foundation hosted an indigo dyeing workshop together with weavers from Bali. The Sarawak and Bali weavers then travelled upriver to Rumah Garie. (Photograph by Audrey Low).

Some days in the longhouse were spent looking at Nancy's pua kumbus at various stages of completion. These showing were in the company of her mother who would point out different puas; ‘Show her the one of the crocodile…can she see the pattern? Hold it up for her. What about the indigo pua? Get that from upstairs’.

Nancy draws our attention to a bunch of threads hanging on the window sill. It is the early stages of a pua tied up into a baya or crocodile pattern.

She hurries upstairs, digs around for a while and returns with a thick roll of material. She lays it on the floor and gently unfurls it, slowly so as to not entangle the thousands of loose threads, revealing a silk pua dyed in indigo blue. Her father sits in the background, admiring her art.

Nancy may live in a remote environment but she is connected to global centers and networks. Nancy and Bangie have been invited to exhibit and lead Iban cultural workshops in galleries and cultural centres in Hawaii, Kuala Lumpur, Seattle and several cities in Europe, and they are collected in Sweden, Paris and in the United States.

An indicator of their personal and social identity woven around the pua kumbu is their presence on the internet which has helped to create and raise their profile as tribal artists. Their international movement and appearance can be tracked over the years, and a virtual resume or itinerary of travel created. What was previously chanted in a genealogy of place is now digitally recorded and transferred to the internet, enabling us to reconstitute their travels on a global scale.

Nancy, together with Bangie, have achieved the traditional status of ‘women of renown’. Only, instead of their fame spreading through the longhouse and several neighbouring longhouses in the region, their renown presently reaches a global audience in international cultural, artistic and academic circles.
Date: 2008-11-25 06:22:08

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo pua kumbu cloth textile women social status tribe southeast asia Dayak Iban woven weaving indigenous object ikat ceremonial shamanism shamanic ritual healing ceremony festivals spiritual religion headhunting migration women's Kuching Kapit Rejang river Balleh craft craftmanship art artist UTS phd university technology sydney Asian Indigo Nancy Ngali longhouse tarum renggat bush creeper vine vegetable dye natural handmade threads loom

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