Protecting the Tibet Plateau

Ms Arahmaiani –5

5Independent, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

In this presentation, I will discuss aspects of my life and career dealing with environmental issues. I will specifically focus on my projects with local people in the Qinghai Plateau (Khamp area of Tibet) in the last 10 years. The Qinghai Plateau is one of the regions with the richest biodiversity in the world and also one of the largest ice fields, known as the ‘Third Pole’. It is also known as the ‘Water Tower’ of Asia because more than two billion people in Asia live from the water from the Plateau. The glaciers are rapidly melting and often causing floods and mudflows. Environmental experts have predicted in 2030 the water sources in the Plateau will dry up. With our creative projects, we try to raise awareness about the environmental conditions in the Tibet Plateau, which will influence the ecological balance both at the regional and global levels. Through so-called ‘community-based art projects’, we have managed to develop environmental action, such as garbage management, tree planting, organic farming, reviving nomadic culture and lifestyle, and water management.


Ms Arahmaiani is one of the leading figures in the Indonesian contemporary art scene. Her work has dealt with cultural and environmental issues, contemporary politics, and a critique of capitalism. Since 2010, she has been working on environmental issues with Tibetan monks in the Tibet Plateau.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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