Status by Design in Fataluku Uma Lulik
Andrew McWilliam Western Sydney University (UWS), AUSTRALIA
Across contemporary Timor-Leste the widespread re-appearance of the distinctive built forms known as uma lulik (sacred or origin houses) highlight their role as a prominent focus for group identity through local celebrations of life cycle transitions and seasonal rituals among house members and allied groups. Each of these specialised architectural structures reveals a rich architectural tradition and decorative diversity reflecting the distinctive ethno-linguistic cultural histories of their source communities. After a lengthy hiatus Fataluku origin houses are once again becoming prominent visual features in the settled landscape, often introducing structural innovations into ancestrally esteemed decorative designs. In this presentation I highlight something of the social politics of Fataluku House construction and the articulation of status through built forms.