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Opening of SEAMEO SPAFA’s ‘Rock Art of Southeast Asia and the World’ Online Course

This special SESH which also serves as the opening ceremony for the Rock Art course started with welcoming remarks from the Centre Director, Director General of the Fine Arts Department, Director General of the National Museum of Philippines (and current chair of SPAFA’s Governing Board) and the Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat. This was followed by the introduction of the featured speakers from this online course by sharing a short introduction about themselves and their research and field interest.

Mr Jannie Loubser started with sharing some of the sites that he will be featuring in the course, specifically a site called Judaculla Rock, in the Appalachian Mountains in the Southeast United States, particularly in Western North Carolina. It’s the most elaborate site and how it is related and special to the Cherokees as it is a reflection of their way of life. Mr Jannie then discussed the conservation timelines of the site, and how the Cherokees continue to visit the site as it has a spiritual significance to them. The site has endured abuse through the years, and it wasn’t until the 2000s that conservation efforts were taken seriously. Mr Jannie also briefly touched upon the various styles and techniques of the Petroglyphs in the various sites that he will feature in his session.

Next speaker is Ms Saw Chaw Yeh who shared her research in unique red-paint Rock Art sites around Peninsular Malaysia, in the state of Perak in Kinta Valley. A drawback to the sites in these areas would be the easy access, hence it is prone to graffiti. What’s unique about this site as well would be its location in a cave, thus having unusual Rock Art not being seen in other sites as there’s a mix of different patterns and drawings. The local Indigenous community says that this is a special site to them, used for ritualistic purposes and how the site was also used as a refuge of the community.

Dr Noel Tan proceeded with his site in Myanmar in the Shan state that was discovered in 2015 called Ganbarnei. Dr Noel showed the Elephant Rock with the Rock Art paintings that were painted on scale in the rock. Upon digital enhancement of the photos, clearer details emerged on the painting and how the painting seem to depict an Elephant taming scene. Further details will be discussed in his course session.

Last but not the least, Ms Andrea Jalandoni presented her rock art site which is a hill in Northern Territory in Australia. The rock art she shared depicted two brothers with spear throwers, fighting a tall man who cursed them and made them pregnant. She showed photos, drone shots and 3-D models and how they taught the community so they can document their own rock art sites. An interesting aspect of the Rock Art sites in Australia would be the stories and how people still know about these stories.

A lively discussion then ensued with the Q&A session among the speakers, moderator and audience.

If you have watched or joined the live broadcast of this SPAFA SESH, please complete the questionnaire (approximately 5 minutes) to help us improve future SPAFA SESHes: https://bit.ly/Evaluation-Form-RockArtofSoutheastAsiaandtheWorld-OpeningSesh

Date: 02 May 2022

Time: 10 a.m. (Bangkok time)

Online Platform: Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/seameo.spafa/ and on *Zoom. *(Please register at: https://bit.ly/SPAFASESH_Opening_RockArtofSEAsia_World)

In this SESH, which is the first day of SEAMEO SPAFA’s rock art course, some instructors will talk about their respective course lessons and what to expect in the coming weeks. They will also be sharing some of their favourite rock art.

Instructors:  Jannie LoubserAndrea JalandoniSaw Chaw Yeh and Noel Hidalgo Tan

Moderator: SEAMEO SPAFA’s Senior Specialist in Archaeology, Dr Noel H. Tan

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