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  • Writer's pictureMerdeka Secretariat

Call for Submissions: Virtual Art Exhibit for West Papua

On 1st December 1961, the Morning Star Flag (Bintang Kejora) was raised for the first time as West Papua’s national flag in a symbolic declaration of the nation’s independence from the Netherlands. A few weeks later, Indonesia would then launch Operation Trikora1 initiating the start of its occupation of West Papua and the subsequent banning of the Morning Star Flag.

59 years later, this same flag is still making headlines as hundreds of West Papuan are arrested for being in possession of it or for raising it during protests demanding for self-determination. For the state of Indonesia, the Morning Star is a symbol of separatism. For the people of West Papua, it carries their aspirations for genuine liberation.

The occupation of West Papua is one of the longest-running in the world yet one of the least known. A significant portion of West Papua’s history has been left out of our history books, instead presenting its annexation to Indonesia as a result of a fair referendum and not a series of military operations.

In response to the Indonesian Government’s attempts to revise history and twist narratives to maintain its control over West Papua, the Merdeka West Papua Support Network, particularly its network of artists and creatives, are working together to launch a virtual art exhibit that will re-introduce West Papua and its struggle for self-determination to the international community through a creative lens.

As we commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Morning Star Flag Raising, we also give due recognition to West Papua’s continuing struggle for self-determination and the people’s genuine liberation.

The virtual art exhibit aims to:

  • Raise awareness on the history and ensuing contemporary human rights issues in West Papua;

  • Showcase the creative and artistic skills of West Papuans and their supporters;

  • Demonstrate the role of art as a story-teller of social realities and as an inspiration for change;

  • Expose the information blockade in West Papua and other tactics by the Indonesian Government to manipulate and dissuade public against supporting West Papua’s self-determination; and

  • Amplify the objective demands of the people of West Papua and promote international solidarity for their struggle for self-determination.

For the full concept note and invite, kindly send us an email


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