Interior view of Arte Moris, Dili, East Timor, 2008. Photo: Margarida Girão
Established in February 2003 in East Timor’s capital Dili, Arte Moris is the first fine arts school, cultural center, and artists’ association in the world’s youngest democracy.
Arte Moris was born in the aftermath of twenty-five years of Indonesian military occupation and the extremely violent events following the August 1999 referendum, leading to the country’s restoration of independence on May 20, 2002. Arte Moris’ primary aim was to use art as a building block in the psychological and social reconstruction of a country devastated by violence, with special emphasis on helping its young citizens.
Today, the school runs daily courses in drawing and painting for more than 100 junior students over the age of twelve. They study art under the guidance of Luca Gansser, international visiting artists, and the senior students who have been trained in art education.
Arte Moris offers the following resources for students: indoor and outdoor classroom spaces, a carving and sculpture area, gallery space for saleable works and exhibition of the permanent collection, and a music and drama space currently run by the Bibi Bulak theater and music troupe.