In 1994, I travelled to Tanimbar to study the work of sculptors in the islands. On my return from Tanimbar, I wrote a lengthy academic report on art and Tanimbarese conceptions of time, history and change.

This report went to my sponsors and funders, but ever since has languished in a bottom drawer, so I thought it worth reproducing here just in case anybody is interested.

This online version of the report is a minimally edited version of the original report. There may be typos and other issues that I haven’t picked up on. If so, do get in touch. One day, I’ll sort out a PDF version of the report, nicely formatted. But, in the mean-time, here’s the contents page. Click on the links to take you to the individual chapters.


1. Introduction
2. Implementation
3. The History of Tanimbarese Art
4. Images and Power
5. The Sculptor in Society
6. Past, Present, Future: Time, Art and History in Tanimbar
7. Tradition and Modernity: the Unsatisfactory Present
8. The Construction of Time I: The Jaman Purba
9. The Construction of Time II: The Jaman Pertengahan
10. The Construction of Time III: The Jaman Moderen
11. Conclusion
12. Appendix: Selling History