Women’s contribution to Timor-Leste’s art and culture
Maria Madeira Visual Artist; Scholar
Over the last few decades, a visual arts movement has emerged in Timor-Leste, which encourages contemporary artistic expression to exist alongside traditional craft based practices. The principal concern of this presentation is to examine and reflect upon the changes and development of Timor-Leste’s arts and cultural discourse from its pre- colonial origins to the present day. This analysis contributes to, and provides a broader perspective and understanding of, the relationship between the traditional arts and crafts and the current practices of East Timorese contemporary visual artists. Close consideration will be given to the influence and contribution of East Timorese women, particularly in the areas of textiles, basketry, ceramics and the performance arts industries. The presentation will be conducted from my active position in these developments as an East Timorese female visual artist. As a consequence, it provides a new perspective on the existing discourse, which to a certain extent has sidelined the artistic practices of female contemporary visual artists from the country’s arts and cultural discourse.