A Vast Island Nation
Indonesia includes more than 17,000 islands scattered across 3,000 miles. It is a remarkably diverse nation, with hundreds of languages and a wide variety of lifestyles, landscapes, foods, traditions, and histories. In most of Indonesia, people have many direct experiences with the death of others - their relatives, neighbors, and friends. These are not events that happen in far-away hospitals, but in their own homes. Survivors need to see and hold the body of the dead person to confirm the reality of the death, and to keep the link to that person alive. They wonder how people who bury their dead immediately can deal with the pain and loss of death when they can no longer see and hold their departed family members and friends. This exhibit highlights some of the ways in which the people of Sumba and Sulawesi care for their dead.