Para além do visível. Percepções de direitos humanos nos murais e graffiti de Timor-Leste
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Murals and graffiti are part of the landscape of the cities and villages of Timor-Leste. Some portray violent events and their legacy from the Indonesian occupation; others celebrate the achievement of independence and Timorese identity. During the 2006 crisis the walls ‘shouted’ words of frustration at the political leadership of the country due to the political violence which ensued after the dismissal of petitioner soldiers’ from the armed forces.
Visual analysis of street art in Timor-Leste is part of the initial stage of a PhD research project on Intergenerational perceptions of human rights in Timor-Leste, which will use focus groups as the primary methodology. This research project aims to contribute to a comprehensive knowledge about the East Timorese understandings of human rights and the ways in which they are being translated into a vernacular form. The factor of ‘generations’ is central in this research, reflecting the fact that issues of history, memory and commemoration are vital in Timor-Leste’s contemporary society. The visual analysis research method was chosen due to the observation that the walls are one of the most accessible and far-reaching means of communication in Timor-Leste, especially among the young people. Also, we consider that the sensory nature of visual arts creates a place for expressing emotional and embodied experiences of colonialism and on-going debates about identity. The collection of photographs from murals and graffiti analysed here is based on a published book about street art in Timor-Leste (Parkinson 2010) and also in photographs taken between 2003 and 2011 by various authors.