Biboki Weavers and Yovita Meta
Biboki Weavers, a non-profit organisation founded in 1990 by Ms Yovita Meta, stimulates cultural and economic development through the re-orientation of traditional skills in one of the poorest parts of Indonesia. Old techniques such as handspinning of cotton and use of natural dyestuffs have been revived and updated, and new knowledge, for example, of synthetic dyes, has been incorporated. Community stories and values are expressed through specific local styles and techniques like ikat, supplementary weft and tapestry weaving. Through regular training workshops and community discussion, the Tafaen Pah Foundation aims for standards of the highest quality. Their active exhibition practice has resulted in Biboki textiles being recognised as the finest in West Timor. The Foundation works mainly through 25 self-managing groups of women weavers. Their success has led to associated developments by the men of the community who have joined the Foundation, bringing membership to over 1,644 people. Through craft, dignity is established, success is achieved and this has spread to other areas of the community’s life. Yovita Meta seeks to empower people and promotes ownership of decision-making. She challenges prejudice in a male-dominated society and is a source of inspiration to women, men and children. The community now see themselves as custodians of a valuable heritage. Biboki Weavers is a model for people who find themselves out of the mainstream, inspiring them to look to their cultural heritage for elements that can be revived, reinvented and adapted to modern conditions.