Between the Tides: A Fascinating Journey Among the Kamoro of New Guinea

Between the Tides: A Fascinating Journey Among the Kamoro of New Guinea

by David Pickell, Kal Muller
     
 

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Photographer Kal Muller was exploring one of the most remote places on earth: Irian Jaya, the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea and home to the Kamoro people, whose culture, it was widely believed, was extinct. By happenstance Muller stumbled upon an initiation ceremony and uncovered a thriving, traditional way of life. With longtime

Overview

Photographer Kal Muller was exploring one of the most remote places on earth: Irian Jaya, the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea and home to the Kamoro people, whose culture, it was widely believed, was extinct. By happenstance Muller stumbled upon an initiation ceremony and uncovered a thriving, traditional way of life. With longtime collaborator David Pickell and two Kamoro friends-Aloysius Akiniyau, a guide, and Apollo Takati, a schoolteacher-Muller set out to rediscover the Kamoro people. Traveling by dugout canoe to survey the far-flung villages of the Kamoro Coast, their journey took them from the dusty frontier town of Timika to tiny Lakahia Island. Along 200 miles of twisting mangrove creeks and across the relentless Arafura Sea, they discovered a culture undergoing a delicate, sometimes humorous, and often wrenching process of change.

Rejecting the bravado and exoticism of recent accounts, Between the Tides is an engrossing work that combines storytelling, humor, history, natural history, and political and cultural observations. David Pickell’s relationship to the Kamoro is sensitive and deeply personal, and Kal Muller’s accompanying photographs are dramatic and evocative. Together they present a vivid portrait of how an isolated, nomadic past meets a worldly, urban future, how history confronts superstition, and how a false and imposed sense of shame can yield to a new, yet fragile, pride.

Author Bio:

David Pickell has edited eight books on Indonesian art, natural history, and travel; three of which are about Irian Jaya. He is also the author of Diving Bali. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Kal Muller specializes in photographing tradi-tional peoples of the world. His work has appeared in dozens of books and as many magazines, including National Geographic. For the past two decades he has focused on Indonesia, especially Irian Jaya.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Travel writer Pickell and photographer Muller, who have collaborated on several books on remote parts of Indonesia, here offer an illustrated book on the Kamoro, presenting both contemporary and historical views of this little-known culture. A semi-nomadic group of around 18,000 people, the Kamoro live along the swampy south central coast of the Indonesian province of Papua on western New Guinea. Because they were slow to adopt subsistence agriculture and settle in permanent villages, they were seen as backward by newcomers to the province. It was believed that after years of contact with Malay, Dutch, and Indonesians, the traditional Kamoro way of life was extinct. In 1997, Pickell and Muller traveled the Kamoro coast, documenting Kamoro ceremonies and cultural practices, some of which are now being revived or reinvented. Pickell describes the region's flora and fauna, geology, and history, ranging from prehistory to contact during the Spice Island trade to modern political movements. His fine text is illustrated by Muller's superb color photographs, which are supplemented by line drawings from earlier publications describing the region. Also included is an excellent topographical map and detailed captions, index, and bibliography. This hard-to-classify work-a combination of history, ethnography, and travelog-is recommended for all libraries.-Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780794600723
Publisher:
Tuttle Publishing
Publication date:
03/15/2003
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
9.05(w) x 12.02(h) x 0.67(d)

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