Pottery is an important cultural marker of ancient societies all around the world. In Island South-East Asia and Oceania, pottery-making techniques diffused ca. 4000 to 3000 years ago when Austronesian-speaking communities spread through the region. In Timor-Leste, pottery was introduced at least 3500 years ago and the traditional pottery still produced in some villages across the country reflect this very ancient tradition. Since the 1970′, researchers who recorded pottery techniques and productions in Timor-Leste pointed to the urgent need of documenting a rapidly vanishing tradition. In 2014, the situation is alarming: out of more than 30 villages where pottery was known to be produced in the 1970′, only a few are still producing today and the techniques are not being transmitted to the younger generation anymore.
The trilingual book presents examples of communities in Timor-Leste where traditional pottery-making still occurs. Written by Jean Christophe Galipaud, the book is part of a global project implemented by the State Secretariat of Arts and Culture with support from IRD (French Institute for Research and Development), to raise awareness on pottery-making practices in Timor-Leste and to promote potters’ communities, in order to ensure a successful transition of this important heritage into a modern and more sustainable economy.
David was commissioned to design the trilingual book and produce a short film for the exhibition about the last active potters in the country. The film was presented in 2015 at the St Kilda Film Festival in Port Phillip (Australia).