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2020 and beyond

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can”. – John Wesley

This program is designed to support Dayak youth from Kalimantan to achieve their full potential as leaders of their people in the future.We have identified a number of people who we feel fit the criteria and have the right attitude, commitment, passion and skills necessary to be future leaders in different areas of influence.

We are also constantly searching for those interested to be part of this program for the future and establishing a development plan with the individual.

At this stage the program is funded by myself, however we are looking for sponsors and donors to support this critically important program.

Whilst this program has been operating for a number of years, it is now being properly formalised with a structure and development program for each individual depending on their needs and wants.

As of March 2020 these are the individuals that are on this program and what has been achieved so far .

SITI HABIBAH : ARTIST Dayak Ngjau  30 years old lives in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan     Siti is the leader of the Spirit of the Hornbills dance academy, and has been a dance teacher for the past ten years, at schools and privately at her dance academy which was founder in 2013 when she was 23 years old.

The dance/ music  academy  has developed significantly over the past 7 years  and now provides daily teaching to students in Palangkarya city , where the academy has its own studio, and also to children in riverside villages near Palangkaraya. Two years ago they developed a train the trainer program, so that there are competent, well trained dance teachers in the villages.

Many of the students have had opportunities to perform in Jakarta, Bali, Kuching, Malaysia at the rainforest music festival in 2019, and at Woodford folk festival in Australia in 2020.

They have developed many Dayak youth to become dance and music teachers, as volunteers.

The dance academy has become more of a centre of teaching and learning traditional dance/ music and welcomes dancers from other parts of Indonesia and the world to come and learn with them.

They have had indigenous dance groups from Australia and other countries come to the studio and do dance collaborations.  

YUN PRATIWI : TOURISM  Dayak Ngjau  25 Years old , lives in Palangkarya, Central Kalimantan

Yun started as an independent guide in 2015, taking tourists to places around her home town of Palangkaraya after she graduated from University with a degree in english.

She then formed her own company and started to concentrate more on eco and indigenous tourism, taking visitors on educational , adventure trips to Sebangu National Park and Dayak villages in the area. She also supports her sister Siti Habibah’s dance academy and regularly brings people to the studio to learn about traditional Dayak Dance and music.

Yun, has visited many countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand to learn more about eco tourism and visited the United States in 2019 as part of the YSEALI program.

She also started the first home stay in Palangkaraya, continues to develop her company and now hires local Dayak guides.

Future plans are to develop indigenous tourism to support the Dayak communities throughout Kalimantan. Yun is very organised, efficient and reliable, speaks very good english and is very committed to develop eco tourism and support Dayak culture. 

NIKITA : DANCING/ MUSIC  Dayak Ngjau  19 year old from Marang Village in Central Kalimantan

Nikita’s dream was to learn how to dance and become a teacher. This opportunity was presented to her by Medyarte foundation based in the UK to be able to teach the children in her village on a weekly basis. Musical instruments were provided also and she also reached music.

She was taught by the teachers at The spirit of the hornbill dance academy in Palangkaraya as part of the teach the teacher program. We hope in the future Nikita will be able to teach in other villages and we will have a sustainable model that will keep Dayak culture alive through traditional music and dance.

Nikita has proven to be very dedicated and a good teacher.

We hope she will have opportunities in the future to perform with the Hornbills in Bali and other places. 

DESSY : EDUCATION Dayak Simpang 23 years old, lives in Tahak Village , West Kalimantan

Dessy graduated from University in Pontianak , West Kalimantan with an English degree in 2018.

After graduating from University she attended the Green School in Bali for 6 months as part of an internship, teacher support program. Dessy is also a speaker, dancer and singer and represented her culture on a few occasions in Bali and in Kuching, Malaysia at the Indigenous film festival in Kuching in 2019.

She was chosen as a youth leader to take some elders from her village to an indigenous event in the Phillipines in 2019 also.

Dessy co founded the Sakolah Adat ( customery school ) program in her village in 2017 and assists other Dayak youth leaders to start Sakolah Adat in their areas.

She is very knowledgeable about the food and plants in the forests of Kalimantan and is working with her local community to create sustainable jobs in agriculture , tourism and is determined to protect the forests in her area which are under threat from Palm Oil development. She works with her brother to produce short documentary films and wants to build and open a Sakolah Adat high school on her family land in 2021.

Dessy needs help in goal setting, organisational skills and planning, public speaking ,developing leadership skills and expanding her influence.

JOH :   HEALTH AND EDUCATION  Dayak Kanayan 21 years old , lives in Pontianak, West Kalimantan

Joh is currently at University studying to become a nurse. In 2019 he started the Sakolah Adat program in Sebangi Village , West Kalimantan and is very passionate about the arts and teaches the kids dance and drama.

He will spend one month at ASRI in Ketapang, West Kalimantan in March 2020 learning about their successful program working with the local communities protecting the forests and wildlife through health initiatives.

Joh plans to continue to expand the Sakolah Adat program in more villages and improve his English speaking skills.

Joh needs help with capacity building, organisational skills, stress management.

DELI :  EDUCATION , TOURISM, ARTS  Dayak Simpang  18 years old , lives in Tahak village West Kalimantan

Deli graduates from senior  high school in April 2020 and was planning to  perform at the  World Indigenous Tourism Conference in Perth in April, but this event has been deferred until November . Deli is a very talented dancer and Sape player and is the co founder of Sakolah Adat in her village with her sister Dessy.

She is not quite sure what path she wants to take but wants to work in tourism as a way to support the community and protect the forests of Kalimantan. She also wants to pursue the arts and represent  her culture at public events in the future.

Deli is very mature for her age and highly talented and very good with people, especially children.

She has natural MC skills and is very confidant behind a microphone.

Deli needs to improve her English speaking skills, although she has improved tremendously over the past 6 months.

DERSI :  FILM MAKING  Dayak Simpang  14 years old , lives in Tahak , West Kalimantan

Dersi is a very talented young film maker who is developing these skills whilst attending high school near his local village.

He has received some training from two experienced film makers who visited his village and plans are to have him attend indigenous film festivals in 2020, and more film making camps.

Plans are to find him a mentor that he can continue to learn from.

Dersi needs to learn English also. He is getting support in terms of film making equipment eg laptop, drone, camera lens , phone to support his film making efforts. Dersi is very talented and understands a lot about the forest and environment in which he lives.

Whilst very young I think Dersi has a bright future and will respond positively to any support he receives.

We think that what Dersi is doing will encourage other young  film makers in the community to tell their stories this way. 

TIMO :  FILM MAKER  Dayak Seberuang , 27 years old ,  lives in Sintang , West Kalimantan

Timo has produced a few short documentary films and is the co founder of Filmmakers of Borneo film making group. Timo is a very talented film maker and works very hard to achieve success. He has also helped lead two film making camps in West Kalimantan as a teacher , co ordinator and one of his films was featured at the Kuching indigenous film festival in 2019.

I think Timo would benefit from more opportunity to work with experienced film makers and can be a mentor himself for young indigenous film makers.

We have supported him with equipment such as camera , lens and plans are to provide him with a laptop.

DISREKIA :  Teacher  , Leader,  Dayak Kanayan , 30 years old  lives in Tembak Village

Disrekia earned her english degree at a University in Yogyakarta, and then returned to her village to teach Dayak children in her community and work with her brother to help save the forests in her local area, which have been under threat from Palm Oil development.

Dis attended the Green School internship program for 6 months in 2018, and was invited to speak at the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators conference in Bali that year and at other public events in Bali.

Dis speaks very good english, is a influential speaker and leader of her people. She  helped set up Sakolah Adat in her village in 2019 , has a lot of knowledge about indigenous land rights, from her own personal experiences and is very dedicated to preserving her Dayak culture and traditional village life.

Dis needs help with developing her leadership skills and areas of influence.

KYNAN : Film Maker , Photographer, Dayak Iban, 15 years old lives in Puttisibau, Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan

Kynan does not attend formal school but devotes most of his time to film making.

He started making films in 2018. That year we brought him to Bali to attend the Bali indigenous film festival and Kuching indigenous film festival to show one of his short documentaries, which was very well received.

He also attended the Indigenous celebration in Bali in 2018 where he helped as a translator and performed  on the stage with others from his village in Kapuas Hulu.

Kynan speaks very good English and is a very talented film maker and photographer.

He is being supported by an indigenous film making organisation called If not us then who , and was invited to New York in October 2019 to accompany Bandi an elder who was representing his village Sungai Utik who received the  Ecuador prize .

I think Kynan can be a role model for future young indigenous film makers and would benefit from a film making internship program in the future and more exposure to professional film makers.

He also helps his parents who have an eco tourism business.

ORE  :  Dancer , Dayak Kenyah , 17 years old from Setulang Village , North Kalimantan

Ore will graduate from high school in 2021.

She is a very talented dancer who has performed in Jakarta and Bali during Indigenous arts events, including the Indigenous celebration in Bali in 2018.

Future plans are for Ore to spend time with the Spirit of the Hornbills dance academy, to improve her dancing and learn different styles.

She will need to learn English at some stage and has potential as a Dayak youth leader.



I thought I would give you a summary of our year at David Metcalf Photography, some of the highlights and plans moving forward into 2020…

Ideas, Innovation & Inspiration: Indigenous Cuisine

Written By, Will Meyrick | February 6th, 2019

Once every two months at the exquisite and atmospheric Som Chai Will Meyrick and David Metcalf will curate unique immersive culinary experiences, enhanced by visual media in the form of photography and film footage with the aim to bring all involved closer to the essence of what it means to be indigenous.

Welcome to the world of Will Meyrick, renowned “Street food Chef” and restaurateur. Executive chef of internationally awarded Mamasan, Sarong and Hujan Locale as well as Seminyak Village’s Tiger Palm and Som Chai the latest of Will’s creations.

Impressive as this all sounds none of it was an overnight success and today, at the beginning of 2019, he stands once more on a new threshold and is about to share yet another exciting journey.

NOW Bali took the opportunity to sit down with Will and his partner in this innovation, David Metcalf, of David Metcalf Photography, to discover what new wonders lie in store for us here on the island of Bali.

Will and David met through their passion for the visual image, David is an acclaimed international photographer with many years of experience in using the power of photography to bring about understanding of environmental issues. Through his tours he creates pathways for sustainable, positive change in the indigenous communities he visits, specifically in the legendary lands of the Dayak Tribes of Borneo. In 2018 David curated, with Dayak run RanuWelum’s Young indigenous Film Maker Project, the very first indigenous Film Festival in Bali, an event that will run again in May this year, and has showcased International films made by indigenous groups from as far away as Peru and as close as Papua.

Determined and dedicated in their own fields to the support and promotion of indigenous culture Will and David recognised during a recent trip to the far North West of Vietnam that between them they could create experiences that allowed for more than a visual introduction to the deeply rooted, essential communities that form the basis for the true meaning of society. As Will explained the continued existence of communities that lie beyond the reach of ‘modern living’ are vital to the survival of all cultures and globally, while under threat from all kinds of pressure including here in Indonesia the proliferation of Palm Oil plantations, there is a growing awareness of the urgency with which sustainable support of and authentic connections to indigenous cultures need to be promoted and preserved.

“When I first brought the concept of Asian Street Food into the fine dining scene I did it, not because the food was great, although it is, but because I wanted to tell the stories of the cuisine culture. Asian Street food has always been about the migratory stories, the tribal stories, the journeys that took place from the great explorations of the Silk Routes, land and sea, and the journeys of colonial powers and their slaves. Communities arriving in strange places created food for themselves that reflected their origins, and eventually, as we see so clearly across Indonesia, the blending of cuisine cultures creates a fusion. From the Tamils of Medan to the Afghans of Denpasar, the Chinese diaspora and the Portuguese brought Africans food of the “homelands” infiltrated and adapted to their new environments. And, when a modern economic model, including ‘Transmigrasi’, imposed itself on the indigenous of Indonesia, the Batak, the Dayak, the Sasak and the Madurese, and drew them into cities and townships their food soon followed. So here you have in the streets of the cities the genesis of an indigenous food culture, but sadly now many of these cultures at their roots are facing an extinction moment of their own”.

“No longer is it enough to preserve and show, I feel David and I are at this point where we can join a growing wave of commitment to actually, in partnership with the people of the communities, empower global indigenous cultures to build stronger futures”.

David was keen to point out that while the ideas of sharing the impactful images of the cultures was a good one, and the idea of instructive introduction was important, people really need to connect to the purity and beauty that is indigenous culture, and beyond what is seen in magazines and maybe on tv what does the average person actually know about indigenous Culture?

Discovery of what an indigenous culture is means two things, either going to visit or learning about it in other ways and it is through this approach that Will and David have come up with an ingenious innovation that they are enthusiastic to share.

Will continues, “The thing here is that this is not actually about me, or David, what we are planning is to be a kind of invisible bridge. Sure we will have our images, David’s connections, my restaurant but what people will engage with and enjoy are the incredible indigenous stories and dishes prepared by guest chefs, experts in their fields, with deep and practical knowledge of indigenous cuisine. We invite and encourage attendance through the resonance people have with the Sarong Group, with the knowledge of David’s expertise, our bridge, but once here the journey becomes their own, and who knows they may leave having had a great meal, contributed to the support of two indigenous projects Handep Haruei and Mother Jungle that currently offer practical support to the indigenous Dayak women of Borneo, but also quite possibly they may leave thinking ‘What’s next, Lombok is not so far away, Toraja has great tourism opportunities and why not get into Borneo’s Dayak Culture before it disappears?’ These events are designed to open up all sorts of possibilities that may lead who knows where.”

So starting with an event every two months, held at the exquisite and atmospheric Som Chai, Will and David will curate unique immersive culinary experiences, enhanced by visual media in the form of photography and film footage in the hope that all involved will come closer to the essence of what exactly what it means to be indigenous.

It maybe just what we have all been looking for, the ability to begin our reconnection to the multitude of real world cultures where, as Joseph Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness “What thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity – like yours – the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. “

Look out for the next event:

Bali International Indigenous Film Festival 2018

January 26 – January 28

By Stephanie Brookes

An event took place in Ubud, Bali in January 2018 that honoured the work of indigenous documentary filmmakers and over the course of two days was attended by Indonesian locals, international guests, filmmakers and patrons. The inaugural Indigenous Film Festival Bali launched at Paradiso Theatre, Ubud to a sell-out crowd on the opening night. A beautiful documentary drama was screened, Long Saan – a true story about a Dayak man from Kalimantan who returned to his homeland with the director Erick Est presenting with David Metcalf, photographer. This was followed by a filmmaker Surya Shankar Dash who has dedicated 16 years of his life to documentary filmmaking. Surya from Odisha, India presented three of his short films on the plight his peoples to protect their land from commercial interests. He brought with him Dinja Jakesika,an Odisha tribal Dongria Kondh woman who is the first person in her village to ever get a passport. She was the tribal leader of her village and stood up to the land grabbers, proving that this film festival went to extraordinary lengths to present and challenge the thinking of the audience.

Over the two-day festival period, 36 films were screened to a packed out audience. There were 12 directors present, and a host of lively Q & A sessions delved into the social issues and brought awareness to the struggles of indigenous people in Indonesia and around the world into the light. From Peru to Standing Rock, from the Pilbara in Western Australia to the wilds of Borneo this festival inspired, educated and showcased the works of some of the leading documentary filmmakers.

In partnership with “Handcrafted Films”, “If Not Us Then Who”, and “INFIS”, the first ever International Bali Indigenous Film Festival was a huge success. The films communicated the wisdom and knowledge of the first nations people and also brought together, producers and directors in a sharing of their projects and an opportunity for the learn from each other.

Official Website:

Organisers: Ranu Welum Foundation
Sponsors: Taksu Photo Gallery, Ubud, Bali

Facebook: Bali Indigenous Film Festival
All films were personally chosen by David Metcalf

Contact for more information: David Metcalf

Indigenous Celebration in Bali

How do we celebrate culture? One way is to gather and honour traditions and rituals and share with an audience through storytelling, dance, music and visual arts. By bringing these elements together, a spirit of unity and inclusion can evolve in its own way inspiring an elevated platform of shared understanding. Based on this principle, the Indigenous Celebration will burst onto the stage on May 11-13 in Ubud, Bali.

The Indigenous Celebration is an augural event and will be Bali’s first gathering of indigenous people from such a wide range of regions, across the Archipelago from the Gayo people from Aceh, and including 34 tribes all the way to Papua. Bali was chosen to hold this event, as it is a sacred island and Ubud, being the heart of culture on the island, the most befitting locale; an ideal place to hold this festival of such cultural importance.

Initially, the festival was to focus on traditional village dances but, based on feedback from participants, it has now expanded to include many more people and activities. Now, Indigenous tribal leaders are coming, along with shaman, musicians, writers, storytellers, tattoo artists, and youth leaders. In all, there will be over 200 contributors from seven countries, including for example an Aboriginal group from Australia and a Maori group representing various New Zealand tribes.

The co-founder, David Metcalf, is a New Zealander and a long-term resident of Bali. Sometimes dubbed an accidental anthropologist, he has spent many years of his life supporting Indigenous communities in Indonesia.

Explaining how the festival came about, David says, “I am a photographer and have had the honour of meeting many tribes and traditional leaders here in Indonesia, from Aceh to Timor. This diverse country with its 17,000 islands is a photographer’s dream. I have also had a passion for cultural photography and documentary filmmaking over many years and felt the need to bring it all together in some way. On a personal level, that is exactly what this festival has achieved”.

“I handpicked the 34 Indigenous tribes coming to the Indigenous Celebration, having visited many of them several times. Many of the 200 Indigenous artists and performers coming to the festival hail from far-flung rivers, villages and communities. Most have never been to Bali. They are all very enthusiastic about being part of it and have helped with the planning. Them being here in Bali to share common ground is my life’s dream.”

To stage the event, David joined forces with Emmanuel Shinta, the founder of Ranu Welum Foundation. This organisation based in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, promotes culture, humanity, environment and the rights of Indigenous people. A key aspect of its role is working through media and using a blend of new and old ways to mobilise young Indigenous people, especially Dayak (Indigenous people of Kalimantan).

Shinta explains, “This festival is an opportunity to honour the culture inherited from our ancestors, and to celebrate our identity as the first people of the land, with all the wonderful gifts that we possess. Seven Dayak groups from different areas of Kalimantan will come. I am so proud that Dayak people, who used to be labeled jungle people or scary headhunters, are now leaders in the Indigenous youth movement, to be recognised by this country and an international audience. This is the time to give room for Indigenous people and to accept us, not only for the beauty of our culture but also for our struggles. It is time to walk together with other Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in a spirit of unity and collaboration. Through this event we hope to forge even closer links between young people and the wise ones; the older generation who hold so much knowledge, which is often buried away and could potentially be lost forever if we are not careful. We simply cannot let that happen.”

Many of the groups coming to the festival will include a mix of younger and older people, and this will encourage sharing of culture across generations. I also am so happy to see more young Indigenous leaders rise with incredible power to build their communities and preserve their culture. This stage is all for them.

Indigenous Celebration will be staged at The Arma Museum & Resort. According to David, “One of the highlights on the Arma stage will be the Sunday night mass collaboration. We have provided opportunities for all the Indigenous performers to practice together and they will combine their talents on the closing night. This will be a unique opportunity to see Maori on stage with Dayaks, Bataks and others. It will be something never done before, and will be something the performers and the audience alike will never forget”.

In addition to performances over three nights, workshops will be held during the day, including weaving demonstrations, tattooing, traditional dance and music classes and author talks.

Following the festival, there is a cultural educational event at the Green School on May 14-15. This will provide the opportunity for local young people to learn from the elders attending the festival. Schools from all over Bali have been invited.

For those unable to attend, streaming is available, and the Indigenous Celebration will be beamed across the world via By registering now you can watch it either live on May 11-13, or later at your convenience from anywhere and everywhere.

Indigenous Celebration is a non-profit festival. Any money left over from the ticket sales and sponsorships will be donated to registered Indonesian not-for-profit organisations working to preserve the culture and environment of Indigenous communities.

Story by Stephanie Brookes

Indigenous Celebration

11-13 May 2018 at The Arma Museum, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Unify. Collaborate. Connect. Celebrate. Honour. Inspire. Share.

David Metcalf: