Aug 08, 2020 Last Updated 3:42 AM, Aug 7, 2020

Photo essay: At play on the Mentawai Islands

Published: Aug 05, 2018

Maskota Delfi

The Mentawai Islands are famous for their consistently excellent waves which attract surfers from around the world. A range of tourism companies facilitate tours of varying degrees of luxury. Some surfers choose to stay off land for as long as possible, with chartered vessels providing all the necessary provisions. This means some surfers have few direct encounters with the local economy. The tattoo practices of the Mentawai Islands are also a point of attraction. The photos in this collection show another side to the Mentawai Islands – children at play. Children slide down mud tracks into rivers, play klereng (marbles) or invent games using recycled goods. The river becomes a space of play where the life skills of using a boat and swimming become outcomes learned through play. Playing with tyres, or on boats or learning the skills of volleyball are activities far from the grandeur of Jakarta’s stadiums and the discourses of the benefits of sport as espoused by politicians. Playing is an essential element of learning, socialising and enjoying the good life.

Children playing marbles on Siberut Island. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
The geographic features of Siberut become a site for play and for learning life skills. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
Discarded goods are reinvented for play. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
Trekking is a popular attraction for domestic and international tourists. (Photo: Rian Alfianda)
Playing volleyball, Siberut. (Photo: Hafis Rafi Insani)
Teteu Lumang from Ugai. (Photo: Maskota Delfi)
Beaches like this one at Masilo Island make the Mentawai Islands an attractive destination for adventurous tourists. (Photo: Maskota Delfi)

 Maskota Delfi is a member of the International Indonesian Forum for Asian Studies at Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra.

Related articles from the II archive
White rice of black sago?
Surf Aid groundswell builds
Traditional village institutions

Inside Indonesia 133: Jul-Sep 2018

Latest Articles

A generation of resistance

Jun 26, 2020 - IVO MATEUS GONCALVES

Students demonstrate at Santa Cruz cemetery, 12 November 1991 / Author

East Timor’s student movement and the struggle against oppression

Essay: Celebrating Imlek, Catholic style

Jun 22, 2020 - JOSH STENBERG

/ Josh Stenberg

Practices such as Imlek masses are a welcome example of tolerance and plurality

West Papua and Black Lives Matter

Jun 17, 2020 - SOPHIE CHAO

We are not monkeys / Twitter

A movement seeking justice, healing, and freedom for Black people has become a powerful rallying call for Indigenous West Papuans

Artists seek assistance

Jun 14, 2020 - RAHMADI FAJAR HIMAWAN

Several pesinden accompanying a wayang performance / Rahmadi Fajar Himawan

Javanese traditional musicians are among the many artists and performers struggling to survive, or qualify for government payments under COVID restrictions

A house of cards?

Jun 02, 2020 - YULIDA PANGASTUTI

ANTARA FOTO/Saiful Bahri/wsj

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the exploitation of non-formal early childhood educators 

Subscribe to Inside Indonesia

Receive Inside Indonesia's latest articles and quarterly editions in your inbox.

 


Lontar Modern Indonesia

Lontar-Logo-Ok

 

A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar