Raising the rainbow stories in Maumere
by Giany Amorita, Linking, Learning, and Amplifier Officer, Voice in Indonesia
Pada Tanah Bapak Ku (In the Land of My Father) is an exhibition and festival initiated by Komunitas KAHE in collaboration with Persatuan Waria Kabupaten Sikka/Perwakas (Transgender Association in Sikka), Institute of Philosophy and Technology Creative (IFTK Ledalero) and the community of creative of young people in Maumere. This was held on 11-31 August 2023 Sikka, Maumere, East Nusa Tenggara.
On 2019-2021, Komunitas KAHE documented its stories about and archived the historical tradition and mission of the Catholic Church, Piet Petu, and met with Kampung Wuring. During the two years, many activities happened such as discussions, screening movies, cooking demos and art performances.
There were two parts to the festival they arranged. First is the Gagasan-gagasan yang Berisik or Noise of Notions which showcased that history is not completely a single, clear story. There are a lot of versions, and it depends on the point of view and realities that are trying to be formed and accepted from time to time. In this round, the top reading is about the personal, local, national, and global historical context regarding death, religion, and art, trying to present it through various forms of art and pronunciation, starting from one question key: who really owns history?
The second part talked about Bunga Gading or Rainbow Stories of Maumere. In Kampung Wuring, Komunitas Kahe met Ma Wahida and Haji Mona that shared the reality of gender diversity in Maumere, an important discussion about diversity that should reach further. The community, Perwakas, has been taking the part to fight for creating an inclusive community in Maumere for 25 years.
In the local context, majority of the population is Catholic and Maumere is one of the areas that accept the presence of waria or transwomen. Socially, the Catholic church moves transformatively to adapt to the diversity of its surroundings, including the diversity of its people.
The collaborative approach to this festival proves that Komunitas KAHE, as a creative community of young people, academicians, religious institutes, local governments, stakeholders, students, and civil society including the transwomen community is able to create a safer place for all, and celebrating the diversity. Through this festival, being inclusive is not a jargon, it is a constant exercise and a recognition, appreciation, and respect for differences.