Art of the Ancestors

The art of Indonesia’s tribal peoples has long fascinated researchers, scholars, and collectors. Beginning in the 1970’s American Steve Alpert began applying anthropological skills to collecting the fabulous sculptures, weavings, and ornamental gold pieces from Indonesia’s diverse communities. Many of his finest objects, such as Dayak wood carvings, had been abandoned by their creators as new works became more relevant. His work honors the wisdom of shamans, tribal elders, and a way of life that has almost disappeared. Alpert has established a wonderful online platform, Art of the Ancestors, that contains razor-sharp images, curated galleries, virtual guided museum tours, critical narratives, old photographs, reading lists, and many other resources, using state of the art web technology. His online world is a portal to Indonesia’s past but also provides guideposts to understanding its present and future. It is well worth a tour, especially in these pandemic times.


Muslim Woman Dog Whisperer

Some may find it peculiar that 40-year-old Suesti, who wears a niqab (veil) and is known as Hesti Sutrisno on her social media accounts, is a dog lover. The mother of three, who sells chips and crackers for a living, has adopted 70 stray dogs that live on her property in Tenjolaya, Bogor, West Java. Before that, she adopted 11 stray dogs in Pamulang, South Tangerang, Banten.Traditionally, Muslims avoid canines because of religious teachings. In Islam, dogs are considered unclean, especially their saliva, and they are rarely kept as pets. Some Muslims are taught from a young age to have a strong distaste for dogs. Suesti, nevertheless, believes its right to love and nurture them and she now has many Facebook followers. She uses the profits from her cracker business to purchase land to house her growing “kennel” of strays. (Jakarta Post)