Suku Mentawai performs at the Indigenous Celebration Festival, Bali

From May 11th – 15th, we attended the Indigenous Celebration Festival in Ubud, on Bali Island. It was incredible – a testament to the united strength of Indigenous peoples and the unique and everlasting value of their cultures. We travelled with 8 Mentawai students / teachers from the Yayasan Pendidikan Suku Mentawai (YPSM) cultural education program, and two ‘sipatitik’ tattoo artists – all from Siberut Island.

Whilst celebrating their own Indigenuity – through cultural performance, workshop and exhibition, the Mentawai team were also captivated and deeply inspired by the music, dance, song, story and pride of so many different Indigenous groups and cultures from across the Asia-Pacific. This truly was a sight to behold, for all of us. The team of Mentawai walked away with a deep sense of how important their culture is – not only for their people, but for the future of all Indigenous.

Thank you so much to event organisers, David Metcalf and Shinta Emmanuela, for bringing this vision to life and enabling the Mentawai team to take part. Also, to Suku Suku Tatau and the international tattoo artists who helped bring the Mentawai sipatitik and his young apprentice to Bali to share their knowledge of one of the oldest tattoo cultures in the world.

Here’s a short video capturing some of the cultural performances and energy of the festival:

If you would like to learn more about the Mentawai and their community-based initiative to prevent the loss of their Indigenous culture and knowledge, please follow along at or Thank you for your ongoing support. The impacts of this are positive and profound.


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