On June 2019, survivors, families, and youth came together at an open air exhibition to commemorate those who were killed, disappeared, tortured, and exiled to Atauro island, and to celebrate the community’s resilience through decades of violent conflict. The exhibition shares the outcomes of ACbit and AJAR’s participation action research among survivors of conflict, accompanied with historical context from “Chega!”, the #TimorLeste truth commission’s final report.
The exhibition’s shape creates an aerial design of a pirilampu, or firefly—a metaphor for survivors’ resilient spirit and the hope they offer to the nation. The exhibition also contains a story room where elderly survivors can share their stories in a private setting, as well as a child-friendly lounge for communal discussions.
Manuela Leong Pereira, ACbit’s Director, states, “We hope that there will be state acknowledgement for the Marabia victims, including women. We hope that this exhibition will motivate people to speak out about their experiences, facilitate healing for victims, and inform the young generation about what had happened. It’s a first step to break the oppressive silence.”
Mari Alkatiri, former Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, affirms, “The Marabia case is part of our history. Let’s tell each other’s stories from this point forward, because sharing memories is very important.”
The exhibition was co-produced by Assosiasaun Chega Ba Ita – ACbit, Asia Justice and Rights, and the National Victims’ Association, and design and art studio This.Play.
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