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In her engaging account, Kathleen Adams chronicles how various Toraja individuals and groups have drawn upon artistically-embellished "traditional" objectsas well as monumental displays, museums, UNESCO ideas about "word heritage," and the World Wide Webto shore up or realign aspects of a cultural heritage perceived to be under threat. She also considers how outsidersbe they tourists, art collectors, members of rival ethnic groups, or government officialshave appropriated and reframed Toraja art objects for their own purposes. Her account illustrates how art can serve as a catalyst in identity politics, especially in the context of tourism and social upheaval.
Ultimately, this insightful work prompts readers to rethink persistent and pernicious popular assumptionsthat tourism invariably brings a loss of agency to local communities or that tourist art is a compromised form of expression. Art as Politics as promises to be a favorite with students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, ethnic relations, art, and Asian studies.
Posted October 14, 2009
This book is a very good read. The author looks at art in Indonesia and its political aspects. The author also offers engaging reflections on life and research in an rural area of Indonesia. The author focuses especially on a people called the Toraja, who live on Sulawesi island. She writes about the symbols carved on their houses, their carved sculptures of the dead, their rituals and their local museums. She also looks at how tourism has changed their lives, and at how their art is looked at by other Indonesians. If you wondered what it was like to be an anthropologist living Indonesia, what village life is like, or what Indonesian art is all about, this book is for you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.