Looking Closely at Asei Village, a Center of Papuan Bark Crafts

goodmorningpapua.com – One of the typical Papuan souvenirs loved by tourists is the result of handicrafts from bark which still relies heavily on traditional manufacturing techniques.

Travelers can look directly at the center of the craftsmen/craftswomen producing bark craft products on Bumi Cendrawasih, namely in Asei Village which is a tourism village and is located in the middle of Lake Sentani.

“Since I was little, Sa (I) have been doing this, since the days of our ancestors, I have been doing this every day. Starting from earrings until now, I am skilled in all crafts,” said Mama Maryones Onge (46), a native who lives in Asei Village.

The bark craft is one of the mainstay livelihoods at Asei Village. From an early age, children in this traditional village are demanded to learn the skills of making handmade arts.

During the XX Papua PON event, people from Asei Village wen in flocked to the city to participate in celebrating the implementation of the four-yearly national multievent tournament.

They peddle their artistic products to become a choice of souvenirs for tourists and contingents of athletes and officials from outside Papua competing in the Papua PON event.

Every day, Mama Maryones can make many crafts ranging from headbands, leather bags, to traditional tassels that are part of traditional clothes from the Black Pearl Country.

“I can make 20 hats (headbands) a day in large, but yesterday I had trouble selling these,” she said.

Usually under normal conditions, Asei Village is always crowded with visitors who want to travel and look for original handicrafts made by indigenous people. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic, handicrafts and activities in the Asei tourist village have ceased.

“Usually there is a white boat that brings foreign tourists here. About every 3 to 6 months. They must buy headbands and bark crafts that we create. But since this corona we have met our daily needs as many as we can,” said Mama Maryones.

She saw the presence of the Papua PON as one of the steps for the revival of the people’s economy which was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mama Maryones is also happy because she can be actively involved in enlivening the first PON celebration in the easternmost region of Indonesia.

She said that within three weeks before the PON took place, his family participated in making hundreds of orders for headbands to complement the clothes of the dancers who entertained the public at the grand opening of the PON.

In addition to the headband, Mama Maryones also made a tassel skirt that was still made from natural bark so that the dancers’ appearance still looked like one with nature.

Through her works of art, she wants to show that the Papuan people have unlimited creativity while still maintaining their cultural values.

Each of her works is expected to bring happiness and peace to the users or recipients. Mama Maryones also saw PON Papua as a place to show the face of Papua that is safe, peaceful, and unpretentious. The peace that is now being maintained by the community during the Papua PON is expected to continue in the long term.

Apart from Maryones, there is also a bark decoration painter, Jefry Nere (42) who diligently makes paintings typical of Papua on bark.

He said he was happy because the bark craft from Asei Village turned out to be a favorite for tourists to serve as souvenirs during the PON.

Every day he diligently makes paintings of symbols telling the events and the beauty of Papua.

As when he was met, he was painting a bird of paradise which is a rare animal that only lives in Papua. Jefry admitted that he was very happy to be able to enliven the implementation of the first PON in Papua.

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