Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Buying Souvenir in Manokwari from Artist Mr. Asaribab

Tourists who come to Manokwari, after traveling around, usually ask me where they can buy souvenirs. As a tour guide, I know some artists who make high quality carvings, paintings and drawings, and woven cloth. When I accompanied Katja Zimmermann, a German tourist, around Manokwari city, she asked where she could buy souvenir. I mentioned the name of Mr. Nico Asaribab. He is a senior wood carving artist who lives in the Anggrem area. His house is only a stone throw away from the beach. We went there at 3 p.m. His son, John looked happy to receive us. At that time they were carving the wooden door of their house. Mr. Asaribab was not at home. John called him via his mobile phone and several minutes later, his father arrived at home still wearing his black jacket.
I took a photograph of John and his father, together with the other family members. The door would be decorated with beautiful ornaments carved on its surface.
Katja bought a beautiful wooden carving. As part of my campaign in promoting the art and artists of Papua, I asked Katja and Mr. Nico Asaribab to be photographed together. The interior of the house looked bright that day and I was able to get a good pose of them while Katja was holding a wooden carving. She didn't buy the one that she was holding. Instead, she bought one that could be carried in for her travel bag. Katja looked beautiful holding the Papuan artworks next to Mr. Nico Asaribab who was smiling in front of the camera.
I hope that if you (readers) also come to Manokwari of West Papua, you could buy some souvenirs which the Papuan artists have created. Your money is very useful in supporting the economic livelihood of the artists and in encouraging the development of eco-tourism. Papuan will not sell their timber for cheap price to logging companies. Instead, they will be more creative in producing high quality artworks that only spend little amount of wood as the raw material for the souvenirs that they produce. Artists in Manokwari make their houses as their working studio and also as souvenir shops.
I also hope that by writing articles about eco-tourism in Manokwari, more tourists will come.
One of the ways that we can do to protect the tropical rainforest in West Papua is through the promotion of eco-tourism and through finding alternative jobs to Papuan so that they can earn a living through selling artworks, being tour guide or providing other services to tourists and not cutting trees and selling the logs in cheaper price to logging companies. by Charles Roring

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