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The Total Indonesia Foundation, Preserving the Fading Craftmanship of the Dayak Tribe

Total E&P Indonésie created the Total Indonesia Foundation to perpetuate Indonesia’s diverse cultural heritage, particularly the Dayak native culture. Focusing on the preservation of Borneo’s rich yet rapidly vanishing basketry traditions, the foundation has deployed numerous programs to reintroduce plaiting techniques to a new generation.

The Decline of the Dayak Heritage

The plaiting tradition began to fade when Dayak tribe members were introduced to plastic, and as deforestation hindered the gathering of wood and rattan. Since the 1980s, almost no tribe member under 35 can plait rattan properly. The Foundation aspires to prevent the decline and extinction of this art form.

Practical Programs to Preserve Dayak Basketwork

Along with the Lontar Foundation, the Total Indonesia Foundation has exhibited Dayak basketwork ranging from containers to mats and fish traps as part of its conservation program. Aligned with this program, the Foundation also published Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest, a book based on studies of 20 experts on Kalimantan crafts.

The Future Lies Within Each of Us

The Foundation believes that art of plaiting can be revived only if there are people willing to practice it again. To encourage and inspire them, there needs to be a market for the handicrafts. This is now the next challenge in its vision for preserving the unique Dayak culture. With the full support of Total, this vision is being fulfilled. Now the Foundation has a bigger role and responsibility to bring this heritage to the world.
 

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