Asei Village, the ‘Warehouse’ of Bark Crafts in Papua

  • PAPUADAILY –In Bumi Cendrawasih, the center for Papuan wood leather handicrafts can be found in Kampung Asei, which is a tourist village. It is located in the middle of Lake Sentani. In addition to noken, this craft is also hunted by tourists because its manufacture is still very traditional.

One of the craftsmen, Mama Maryones Onge (45) admits that this skill in making crafts is hereditary in Asei Village.

“Since I was little, I (I) have been doing this, since the days of our ancestors, I have been doing this every day. Starting from earrings until now, I am proficient in all crafts,” said Mama Maryones Onge, who is a native of Kampung Asei. Quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Bark handicrafts are one of the mainstay livelihoods in Asei Village. Starting from an early age, children in this traditional village are indeed required to learn the skills of making handmade arts.

During the XX Papua PON event, people from Asei Village flocked to the city to participate in the implementation of the four-yearly national multi-event event.

They sell handicraft products so that they can be a choice of souvenirs for tourists and contingents of athletes and officials from outside Papua who compete in the Papua PON event.

Every day, Mama Maryones can make many crafts ranging from headbands, leather bags, to traditional tassels that are part of traditional clothes from the Black Pearl Country.

“I can make 20 hats (headbands) a day at most, but yesterday I had trouble selling these,” he said.

Usually under normal conditions, Asei Village is always crowded with visitors who want to travel and look for original handicrafts made by indigenous people.

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, handicrafts and activities in the Asei tourist village have stopped.

“Usually there is a white boat that brings foreign tourists here. About every 3 to 6 months. They must buy headbands and bark crafts that we make. But since this corona we have met our daily needs as much as we can,” said Mama Maryones.

He saw the presence of the Papua PON as one of the steps for the revival of the people’s economy which was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mama Maryones is also happy because she can be actively involved in celebrating the first PON celebration in the easternmost region of Indonesia.

He said that within three weeks before the PON took place, his family participated in making hundreds of orders for headbands to complement the clothes of the dancers who entertained the public at the grand opening of the PON.

In addition to the headband, Mama Maryones also made a tassel skirt that was still made from natural bark so that the dancers’ appearance still looked like one with nature.

Through his works of art, he wants to show that the Papuan people have unlimited creativity while maintaining their cultural values.

Each of his works is expected to bring happiness and peace to the users or recipients.

Mama Maryones also saw PON Papua as an event to show the face of Papua that is safe, peaceful, and unpretentious.

The peace that is now being maintained by the community during the Papua PON is expected to continue in the long term.

Apart from Maryones, there is also a bark ornament painter, Jefry Nere (42) who diligently makes paintings typical of Papua on bark.

He said he was happy because the bark craft from Asei Village turned out to be a favorite for tourists to serve as souvenirs during the PON.

Every day, he diligently makes paintings of symbols that tell events and the beauty of Papua. Like when he was found he was painting a bird of paradise, an animal that only exists in Papua.

Jefry admitted that he was very happy to be able to enliven the implementation of the first PON in Papua.

“There are a lot of orders, we can move the family’s economy again, which was disrupted by the corona virus yesterday. I’m happy that tourism has been opened again,” said Jefry.

The two people, who are already getting old, hope that through the implementation of PON Papua, the people of the Archipelago can get to know the human side of the Earth of Cendrawasih better.

“Kitong (we) have hope, this PON will all be finished safely and peacefully. So that all good things can be told, so that everyone can know the best about the Land of Papua,” said Mama Maryones.

How to get to Kampung Asei

If you are interested in traveling to Kampung Asei in Jayapura Regency, you can cross from Kalkhote Pier, East Sentani District.

There, please bargain with the boat owner to cross the tourist villages in the Sentani area, including to Kampung Asei.

The journey to Asei Village is very close, only takes about 5 minutes.

During the trip, you will be treated to beautiful natural scenery around Lake Sentani.

In Kampung Asei, besides being able to chat directly with the indigenous people of Kampung Adat, you can also buy bark crafts which are priced from Rp. 50 thousand to Rp. 500 thousand, depending on the size and level of difficulty of making the art. An amazing experience.***