The Jakarta Post
A different ambiance could be strongly felt during the opening of the two-day custom motor and car festival Kustomfest at the Jogja Expo Center (JEC) in Banguntapan, Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Saturday.
Men in military uniforms could be easily spotted in the building’s exhibition hall, which displayed 155 custom motorbikes and 28 custom cars. They excluded those in police uniforms.
Among them included Air Force Academy governor First Adm. Sri Mulyo Handoko, Yogyakarta Airbase Commander First. Adm. Tedi Rizalihadi, Yogyakarta Naval Base Commander Col. Arya Delano, Yogyakarta Military Resort Commander Brig. Gen. Muhammad Zamroni and Yogyakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Ahmad Dofiri.
At one spot, RI-X WEL-1, the first and only custom aircraft the Indonesian Air Force has ever built, was on display as the first aircraft ever showcased in the annual custom motorbike and car festival.
“For the first time, the festival’s opening ceremony featured military personnel,” said Kustomfest director Lulut Wahyuni.
This year’s Kustomfest, themed Color of Difference, was not just organized to celebrate the vibrance of Kustom Kulture, a term coined to describe the artworks, vehicles, hairstyles and fashion of those who drove and built custom cars and motorcycles in the United States, but also the colors of Indonesia’s culture and natural beauty.
Kustom Kulture was born out of the hot rod culture of Southern California of the 1960s.
Lulut said the theme was also deliberately chosen to respond to the political year that Indonesia is experiencing as the country is set hold simultaneous legislative and presidential elections in April next year.
“The heat is already here. We can feel it, but we don’t want it to enter the Kustom domain,” Lulut said.
He added that difference is a blessing. It is there not to be differentiated or to be forced to be the same. It is differences that make Indonesia beautiful and rich in colors.
“Through this event, we want to remind people that Indonesia is a big country that was built out of differences in ethnicities, races, cultures, languages, and so on,” he said.
Other military touches can also be found in a custom motorbike that was specially built for the lucky draw program of the festival, offered to visitors who paid the entrance ticket of Rp 60,000 (US$4) per person per day.
Built in 28 days prior to the opening of the festival by a team from the Yogyakarta Retro Classic Cycles workshop, it uses a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Evolution machine and frame.
To give a vintage touch to the bike, mural and street artist Helly KKK was invited to work on the vehicle’s gasoline tank. He named the artwork Belo Negoro (defending the country), which also served as the name of the custom motorbike.
“We dedicate this to the Indonesian Military’s heroes who fought for the country’s sovereignty,” said Lulut, adding that the custom work of the motorbike was inspired by a World War II aircraft fighter Mustang P-51.
Lulut admitted that this year’s lucky draw prize was quite different from previous years thanks to the strong influence of a military theme, giving Belo Negoro strong features.
Responding to the work and the works of other builders whose vehicles were displayed at the festival, Yogyakarta Air Force Academy governor First Adm. Sri Mulyo Handoko expressed his highest appreciation.
“These are all beautiful works of the children of the nation,” he said.
Similar appreciation also came from Abdurrohim Boy of the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), who categorized Kustom Kulture works in the product design subsector.
The subsector is important because it has the potentials to develop other sectors and increase the value of creative products, he said.
“We fully support Kustomfest,” he added. (kes)
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