Trevor Grant Scholarship Fund for educating young West Papuans outside their homeland

On 11 December 2016, during the West Papua Rent Collective’s Christmas party, Jacob Rumbiak launched the TREVOR GRANT SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR EDUCATING YOUNG WEST PAPUANS OUTSIDE THEIR HOMELAND.  Trevor Grant, a loyal and generous member of the Rent Collective, inaugurated the fund with a $5,000.00 donation.  The scholarships are part of the self-determination project enabled by the MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP’s recognition of the West Papuans’ right of sovereignty over their own territory.

Jacob Rumbiak, FRWP Minister for Foreign Affairs, announcing Trevor Grant Scholarship Fund (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, ACU Art Gallery, 11 December 2016)

Trevor Grant, West Papua Rent Collective Christmas Party in the ACU Art Gallery during the 2016 Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016)

Trevor Grant with Babuan Mirino, President of the FRWP Women’s Office in Docklands  (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua, ACU Art Gallery, 11 December 2016)

Trevor Grant, Joe Toscano, FRWP Dept. Foreign Affairs, Immigration & Trade, 13 September 2015

Trevor Grant receiving historical documents compiled by Dutch veterans in The Netherlands.  Federal Republic of West Papua office in Docklands, 13 September 2015 (Photo, Ronny Kareni)

TREVOR GRANT was a fearless and respected sports journalist with two of Australia’s biggest newspapers, and a dynamic advocate for the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka (and Australia).  In 2015, the year he was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a pernicious cancer caused by asbestos in the walls and pipes of The Age and Herald newspaper buildings), he joined the the WEST PAPUA RENT COLLECTIVE.  The Rent Collective is a unique galaxy of Australians that supports the Federal Republic of West Papua’s glorious five-star energy office in Docklands.  Trevor’s generosity in 2015 put the office on a sustainable trajectory.  Weeks before he died on 5 March 2017, the Federal Republic of West Papua told him of its intention to name the airport in Numfoor Island the Trevor Grant Airport.

Numfoor Island, West Papua. The runway was one of eight large runways built on the island during the Japanese military occupation (1942 – 1944)  Photo, courtesy of Jacob Rumbiak.

The Federal Republic of West Papua launched the Trevor Grant Scholarship Fund during the West Papua Rent Collective’s Christmas party at the Australian Catholic University Art Gallery in Fitzroy at the conclusion of the Sampari Art Exhibition and Sale for West Papua.

Jacob Rumbiak welcoming Trevor Grant and other members of the Rent Collective to their Christmas party in the ACU Art Gallery (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016)

Dr Joe Toscano, Co-ordinator of West Papua Rent Collective, midst an elegant display of Melanesian flags in the ACU Art Gallery (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016)

The Reverend Dr J.T. Hollis (Father Turi) from Christ Church in St Kilda leading a ceremony for West Papuan martyrs and political prisoners (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016)

Lorna Archer, another generous member of the WP Rent Collective, reciting Psalm 23 during the ceremony for West Papuan martyrs and political prisoners (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa)

Barbara Tipper’s Ephemeral, her artistic memorial to West Papuan political prisoners in the Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa)

“Ephemeral art as a metaphor for life applies generally to us all, but most specifically to West Papua. West Papuans face dilemmas with ephemerality at many levels: the destruction of the natural environment; the transiency of an indigenous culture being lost to genocide, transmigration and exiling; the loss of political prisoners’ legacies of struggles and gains through the passage of time and inadequate records management. The heights of their cycles are not always being captured, preserved, and the messages shared.

I honour and acknowledge the strength, resilience and faith of West Papuan freedom fighters and political prisoners past and present. May they know they are not alone or abandoned but will live on as their stories are told and their legacies preserved and honoured through the arts” (BARBARA TIPPER)

Catalogue, 2016 Sampari Art Exhibition & Sale for West Papua

Fr Turi singing ‘How Great Thou Art’ in the Maori language (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa)

Stefanus Akanmore, Ceremony for West Papuan political prisoners and martyrs.  Stefanus is Asmat from Merauke, and in 2006 sought asylum in Australia after crossing Torres Strait in a double outrigger canoe with forty-two others (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016)

Bernie Constable, Secretary of the Shearers and Rural Workers Union, and the Rent Collective’s best and most inspiring speech-maker (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa)

Jill Koppel’s Morning Star Cake; Fr Turi, Trevor Grant, Bernie Constable (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, ACU Art Gallery, 11 December 2016)

Dr Robert Stringer, a member of the WP Rent Collective, perusing the Cartoon Exhibition that was a feature of the 2016 Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa).

The Cartoon Exhibition (part of the 2016 Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua) comprised twenty-nine works by Australia’s most gifted and beloved cartoonists that were published in 2006 after the arrival of forty-three West Papuan asylum seekers.  The images mostly lampoon the war-of-words between Canberra and Jakarta, and between Australian politicians, over the refugees’ reports of genocide and crimes-against-humanity.  That Australia’s powerful media moguls published (rather than shelved) their employees’ works suggests that they too believed it was time to begin questioning Australia’s long-standing support of the Indonesian occupation.

Member of the West Papua Rent Collective and Mama Yosepha versus the TNI, Adele O’Connor’s entry in the Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa)

John Grattan-Wilson; Jacob Rumbiak and Ellen Jose (king and queen of torres strait)            (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, ACU Art Gallery, 11 December 2016)

Jefry Jikwa, who recently graduated in aeronautical engineering.  Jefry is Dani from the Central Highlands in West Papua and crossed Torres Strait in a double-outrigger canoe in 2006 to seek asylum in Australia (Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016)

Alfonse Adadikam (Chair, West Papua Community in Victoria); Natalie Adadikam, SAMPARI PAPUA/Papua kitchen.  Photo, Tommy Latupeirissa, 11 December 2016

NOTES

1. DETAILS OF THE TREVOR GRANT SCHOLARSHIP FUND

Australia West Papua Association (Melbourne) is seeking donations for each student’s boarding, tuition, medical and visa costs ($3,000/year). DONATIONS AT Commonwealth Bank: Australia West Papua Association (Melb) BSB 06 3012, ACC 10303295 INQUIRIES Louise Byrne, West Papua Womens Office, 042474 5155; Ned Byrne (61 08) 9795 3759, ngodweeps@gmail.com

2. IMAGE FOR TREVOR GRANT SCHOLARSHIP FUND © DR IAN M. WATKINSON Lecturer in Regional Tectonic Analysis, Royal Holloway University of London.

“This child swam alongside our boat wearing those amazing home-made wooden goggles while we were doing geological fieldwork off the south coast of Supiori in September 2011”

The Biak craft the goggles from their sacred MARES tree (Calophyllum species). The Mares entered mythological history when SAMPARI, the Morning Star, told Manarmakeri “Take the fruit of the bintangur (maresbon), cast a spell, and throw them at Princess Insoraki, who will become pregnant and give birth to a son called Manarbew (Bringer of Peace, Resurrection, and Eternal Life)”. The Biak call the Mares tree Aibesobin (ai/tree, be/that, so/throw, bin/woman (The myth of Manarmakeri Freerk Kamma, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague, 1972).

3. TREVOR GRANT

Trevor Grant I was blinded by cancer, and the asbestos that caused it The Drum, Australian Broadcasting Commission, 5 April 2016 [click to read] Trevor Grant, The Drum, April 2016

Obituary Notice, The Age (Greg Baum) 7 March 2017 [click to read] Sports journalist Trevor Grant dies, The Age, 6 March 2017

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