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'Kopi Susu': A journey of two identities

Josa Lukman
Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta  /  Mon, August 12, 2019  /  05:05 pm
'Kopi Susu': A journey of two identities

Fitting in: A portrait of Dutch photographer Rosa Verhoeve featured during the “Kopi Susu” exhibition at the Dutch cultural center, Erasmus Huis, in Jakarta. (JP/Valerie Halim)

Issues of one’s identity are almost always hard to navigate -- even more so when someone is of mixed blood and struggles to fit into any of them. Dutch artist and photographer Rosa Verhoeve certainly felt that way, having been born with Dutch-Indonesian ancestry after World War II. Those which that ancestry, called the Indo people, have been found across Indonesia since colonial times. Many packed up to leave for the Netherlands after the war, although some stayed behind to start new chapters and families. Verhoeve herself was born in 1959, two years after her parents boarded a ship in Tanjung Priok for the quaint town of Amstelveen. Some 50 years later, she returned to Indonesia to find more about what was only accessible through photographs and paraphernalia. Thus, Kopi Susu (Coffee with Milk) was born. Unlike the iced drinks Jakartans seem to enjoy so much these days...