Cultural History In Focus | "'Ikat' As Metaphor For 'Iban': Women Artists' Creative, Ritual, and Social Powers in Borneo" by Astri Wright

 

Dayak Men and Women at Kuching in Sarawak circa 1900
© KITLV | Lambert & Co.

 
 

‘Ikat’ As Metaphor For ‘Iban’: Women Artists’ Creative, Ritual, and Social Powers in Borneo

 

by Astri Wright

 
 

This article is generously provided here by Astri Wright.

 

Astri Wright

Astri Wright Art of the Ancestors
 
 

Raised bi-lingually on three continents with an interest in Asian philosophies, languages and arts, Astri Wright was positioned towards global and interdisciplinary perspectives on art history, area studies and cultural studies. With university degrees in Western and Chinese Art History & Asian Studies, Wright’s PhD is in Southeast Asian Studies and Art History with a minor in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. She located her research focus in the historical and spatial dialogues and anatomies of modern and contemporary Indonesian art.

Wright’s main research has been on the first generation of nationalist Indonesian artists (pre-revolution and Sukarno era), activist artists and women artists (Suharto era), and since the turn of the 21st century on global collaborations between indigenous-contemporary and modern-contemporary artists. One of the first scholars within this subfield of modern Asian art, her focus has been more on producing data, over-all analysis and collaborative work (praxis) than on the more theoretical work which can re-impose invisibility on artists and contexts outside Euro-centrist practices of art history.

As in her curatorial work where she has sought cross-cultural collaborations rather than single-authorship, Wright decided early on that post-colonial scholarship included actively publishing books and articles collaboratively and/or bi-lingually in Indonesia and not solely in conventional academic publication venues to which most Indonesian artists, art publics, academics, curators and collectors have no access.

In addition to teaching and research, Astri Wright is also active as a curator, working with contemporary artists who draw on hybrid and global identities in their work.

 
© Steven G. Alpert

© Steven G. Alpert

Kain Kebat
© Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA

Pua Kumbu
© Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA

Kain Kebat
© Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA

Dayak Female Weavers at Kuching circa 1900
© KITLV | Lambert & Co.

 

Pua Kumbu
© Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA

Pua Kumbu
© Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA

 

Pua Kumbu
© Dallas Museum of Art | Texas, USA


 

Iban ikat textiles illustrating our introduction to this article are derived from The Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles at the Dallas Museum of Art.

 

Colophon

Author | Astri Wright ©
Editors | Penny Van Esterik and Lynne Milgram
Publication | “The Transformative Power of Cloth in Southeast Asia”
Publisher | The Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies/The Museum for Textiles, pp. 135-163.
Publication Date | 1994