Numéro 15

Displaying religion in Western Flores

Page 130
Sabine Zurschmitten

The photographs in this essay are the result of fieldwork conducted in 2007 among the Kempo people in Western Manggarai, the westernmost district of the island of Flores (Eastern Indonesia).

In the largely Catholic Manggarai, Kempo belongs to one of the very few areas where around twenty percent of the indigenous population have embraced Islam. The local Muslims and Catholics both share a common dialect and a set of cultural values and practices, which they refer to by the term «adat Kempo». Moreover, many Kempo Muslims and Catholics are bonded together through a network of kinship and marriage alliances that results in a system of mutual rights and obligations. Whereas local people with different religious affiliations in other parts of Flores are often spatially segregated, Kempo Muslims and Catholics live together in mixed neighbourhoods in the same villages.