The Jakarta Post
The 2017 Europalia Arts Festival Indonesia officially kicked off on Oct. 10 in Belgium, at which the archipelago, as Guest Country, will present 247 programs until Jan. 21, 2018, to promote its cultural diversity.
The event has received a positive response from visitors, the Education and Culture Ministry’s director general of culture, Hilmar Farid, said at a press conference on Nov. 3.
Not even the Belgian public transport strike prevented the people from attending, he added.
“Around 80 percent of the seats were filled,” Hilmar said.
Performances held during the festival’s opening, including by the choir group Voices of Papua, reportedly piqued visitors’ curiosity about Indonesia.
“People asked [about the climate] as they saw [Voices of Papua's] costumes. [The] answers attracted them to visit [the area],” said Hilmar.
Organizers also received positive feedback from Indonesian participants of the festival.
Fishermen from Tana Beru Bulukumba regency in South Sulawesi, for example, said they were filled with pride upon seeing a traditional Padewakang ship being showcased in the Kingdoms of the Sea Archipel exhibition at Museum La Boverie in Liege.
“The number of people who know how to make a Padewakang ship is decreasing. When [the fishermen] saw the ship [being appreciated by visitors], they felt encouraged to revive [the tradition],” Hilmar said, adding that the ministry hoped Europalia could also benefit the communities in Indonesia that followed the tradition. (kes)
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