The Jakarta Post
Once the world’s greatest center of civilization, knowledge and trade, the Sriwijaya empire most recently became the focus of an exhibition titled, “Kedatuan Sriwijaya: the Great Maritime Empire."
The exhibition concludes a series of events created by PT Jalur Rempah Nusantara, which includes journalistic reports, television programs and a documentary film, Banda, the Dark Forgotten Trail, which premiered earlier this year.
Officiated by Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, PT Jalur Rempah president director Luki Wanandi and director Liliek Oetama on Friday at the National Museum Jakarta, it is slated to run from Nov. 4 to Nov. 28.
Luki said in his opening remarks: “We are inspired by President Joko ['Jokowi'] Widodo’s speech, which stated that Indonesia must be the world’s main maritime axis with an Indonesian identity.”
He added, “We present this exhibition as a [reminder] of how we once reigned on our seas. We can see the future by learning our history.”
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who also gave a speech in the opening night, aligns the spirit of Sriwijaya’s glory with the current government’s effort to increase Indonesia’s spice trade and economic growth in general.
Upon arrival at the National Museum, visitors are greeted in the Sriwijaya Aneka Rupa (The many faces of Sriwijaya) foyer. Moving forward, visitors get acquainted with I-Tsing, a monk who recorded the history of Sriwijaya.
Two important inscriptions, Kota Kapur and Kedukan Bukit, are presented in the next area, which continues on to the ship technology area, where visitors can see how advanced Sriwijaya’s ship-building techniques were.
In the next area, which presents sea sovereignty, visitors will see artifacts that reflect the core theme of the exhibition, which is international trade.
Sriwijaya’s sophisticated takes on pluralism and education are also highlighted, as well as culture.
The exhibition comprises a total of 18 areas, each designed with eye-pleasing visuals. Knowledgeable docents are on standby in each area to answer any lingering questions.
Although the glory of Sriwijaya remains the focus of the exhibition, the fall of the empire is also presented in a unique way.
“It’s a call for contemporary artists [to interpret] the fall [of Sriwijaya] and the maritime world,” head of exhibition and content director, Hani Fibianti, told The Post.
R.E. Hartanto, Michael Binuko and Anusapati are among the contemporary artists brought by Rachel Gallery, whose works are displayed in the Jalur Rempah Exhibition.