Why East Sumba?
Sumba, originally named “Humba”, is an island located in the Eastern Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. With the tropical climate in Indonesia, Sumba has two seasons, dry and rainy seasons. The dry season lasts from May to October in which sometimes it can conduct starvation but also a beautiful yellow color savanna. Meanwhile, in the rainy season, November to April, is the time to go back to the field and start to spread the seeds.
After she went to some other areas in Indonesia, our founder, Chandra Kirana started to realize that in Sumba, most of the locals are still living very close to nature. Most importantly, they are still using the wild natural resources around them to create a beautiful cultural heritage as known as Tenun, or woven fabric in English.
The length of the crafting process for a piece of tenun can last up to 1 year or even more depending on the size and quality of the pattern. It normally involves several artisans in one village, but there are some artisans who do the entire processes by themselves.
In Sumba itself, there are two main areas which produce very different visual types of tenun: West and East Sumba. Why we chose East Sumba? East Sumba is more accessible compared to West Sumba. Other than that, in 2013, Chandra met Kornelis Ndapakamang, an ikat woven textile artist who is still preserving natural dying process in Lambanapu village, Kambera, East Sumba. Chandra then found a common ground with Kornelis. They are both willing to promote natural dye woven fabric, not only to outside Sumba but also inside Sumba. The objective is to encourage the artisans to keep using the natural dying process because regardless of the aesthetic reason, it is also more environmentally friendly.
It was then time for us, Sekar Kawung, to finally found our main focus and interest: to sustain culture and the natural resources simultaneously and harmoniously. From there, until now, we are still working remotely and keeping the relationships with the artisans in East Sumba, convincing ourselves that what we do today can result a long-term impact for the future generation.