The town of Maumere is the largest town of the island of Flores, in East Nusa Tengarra (the South Eastern Island archipelago) of Indonesia. In the lush jungles and hills around Maumere are many Roman Catholic seminaries as well as the Lepo Lorun Weaving Cooperative.
This collective was initiated in 1998 by Alfonsa Horeng to provide additional income for women and to raise the social, cultural and economic value of the magnificent Tenun Ikat - the traditional weavings - that embody the stories of Flores. The Lepo Lorun model of self managed cooperation based on traditional weaving practices has now been replicated in multiple towns across Flores and employs over 1200 women.
The focus of the Big Stories team was to shine a light on this unique local, social innovation and to explore stories with the Lepo Lorun members about Ikat fabric and weaving as well as their own personal stories.
The Ikat is present at all cultural occasions in Flores - from birth to death. Traditionally a women's worth was measured in her weaving prowess, however the Ikat is also the woman's canvas on which the stories, mythologies and relationships are captured in thread.
The stories were produced by the Big Stories team working with Indonesian filmmaker Dodid Wijanarko and a team of Indonesian filmmakers and artists who came from across the region - from Java to West Papua - to create stories, images and music with the community.
The project was sponsored by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australia International Cultural Council and Screen Australia.