The images below are easily available ‘tourist items’ but unique as examples of the underlying First Truths I’m certainly looking at and the dynamic synergy between (wood and stone) craft and design that speaks of an author – a unique individual – who knows their craft and has a voice within it and the forms of their cultural group.


AFW has Irish (convict) and possibly Romany(farm laborer) antecedents to call his own its true  – he’s not indigenous – he’s not a politician – a policy maker. Where then does he get the gall, in the company he keeps to speak for issues he can’t claim as his own? He’s a designer. And is working on his own Grave Goods . A journal of a journey – his legacy if you like – not a Phd . Of value only to himself and  others who might share his belief  that design is ‘a doing word’ – and that you don’t stop doing till you die . It’s a human thing. And only conveniently in an industrialised world – a commodity.

 Defining design professionalism for AFW over 50 years continues to be an often arduous work in progress. The work itself was always been demanding but rewarding, only very occasionally morally conflicted. However it is possibly only in design education, always on the fringes of academia never completely of it and never far from practice, he enjoyed the greatest vindication –  that what he did had worth. And because what he did was all he could do, he has had a very fulfilling life.

 Some years ago he designed a tapestry for his university Chancellery on the theme of a Cicero quote (in Latin) – the planter doesn’t necessarily benefit from the harvest. Philosophically a moot point for a modern university but definitely true for this educator – except in one small but not insignificant way. The tapestry was a collaborative involvement. One in which the weaver’s workshop received all credit due and the designer – Respect. And he was satisfied with that.

 His present involvement in Sarawak, teaching, learning, contributing where possible to ICOGRADA’s effort to launch INDIGO with a 2012 conference as an integrating indigenous/local design knowledge network reminds him of his special satisfaction with the process and outcome to the tapestry project. And the currency of his compensation. In designating him an INDIGO Ambassador the ICOGRADA board was paying forward for much work yet to be done.

 Over this year and into next year AFW will be annotating his experience of this Good Place – Sarawak, its Nice People and the creation of the event through a personal, ongoing journal – a (we)b log. His responses to experiences, discoveries and/or rediscoveries are personal but not private and are there to be commented upon, argued with and of course ignored. They will at times be all about the teaching and learning and the planning of the conference but just as often about the other Small World of Ward, as it moves from orbiting the sun of family and career spinning slower and lower – closer to the earth – and the shared first truths he has rediscovered here, to have a great need of, respect for and a desire to protect.

 The First Truths in the culture AFW left behind, have been largely displaced or obscured. Overwhelmed by ‘new better’ constructs and the smoke and mirrors of argument. On the ground in Sarawak however he finds them still shared not through any precise understanding of them but through a continuing, intuitive reliance on them .

Finally…Dear Reader

As the ark of ‘precise language’ is lifted higher in the Nether World by new priests of Design, the imprecise language of people shaping this Small World into an interface comprehensible to themselves  continues – and Indigenous Knowledge – The First Truths – prevail. But are in need of acknowledgement – Respect – and  direct action –  to survive.

This link will take you to a point in the journal in February 2011 when the author arrived in Sarawak. Forward from there will bring you to the present. Backward will take you back to the beginning of a fine madness around January 2010.


Easter Sunday 2011

2 Responses to “GRAVE GOODS”

  1. Azuar Says:

    Agree with the point that for indigenous knowledge to survive, it needs to be treated with respect


    […] GRAVE GOODS […]

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