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Sukarno monument to grace Algiers' city center

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, June 23, 2020  /  01:43 pm
Sukarno monument to grace Algiers' city center

The monument was designed by West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, who is also an architect, while a torso statue as the main attraction of the monument was created by Indonesian sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga. (Courtesy of/KBRI in Algiers)

A monument to honor Indonesian founding father Sukarno is to be officiated in Algiers.

The monument was designed by West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, who is also an architect, while a torso statue as the main attraction of the monument was created by Indonesian sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga.

According to Ridwan, the idea to erect a monument in honor of Sukarno in the Algerian capital emerged during a dinner with an Algerian delegation in 2015, when Ridwan was the mayor of Bandung in West Java. At the dinner, an Algerian delegate gave a speech about how the North African country's history was greatly influenced by the Asia Africa Conference (KAA) of 1955, which had been hosted by Sukarno in Bandung.

“If you read the history of Algeria, [their founding fathers] went to Bandung for the KAA, [they got] inspired, returned [and then] voted for revolution,” Ridwan told The Jakarta Post in an interview on Friday.

During the course of five years, Ridwan and the Indonesian Embassy in Algiers corresponded with the Algerian government to complete the project. The monument was financed and constructed by Indonesian companies, namely state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina and state-owned contractor PT Wijaya Karya (Wika). 

“For me, the monument is not only a feast for the eyes but also worth a visit. [It is a public space where] people can come and walk, read the Pancasila [ideology] — from the first [principle] to the fifth — and learn about Sukarno as the father of the Pancasila,” Ridwan said.

The monument is created in a crescent shape, which is the symbol of Algeria. There are also five pedestal columns in the monument, each symbolizing a principle of Pancasila. 

Ridwan, who is experienced in designing public spaces, such as the Rasuna Epicentrum in South Jakarta and the Marina Bay Waterfront Master Plan in Singapore, said that the Sukarno Monument was meant to facilitate city dwellers to interact with each other as well as providing an opportunity to learn something from the site.

Ridwan said he had commissioned Dolorosa to create the torso statue to complete the monument as he had good faith in her artistry and philosophy.

“I met her once when I was a mayor. She is the perfect choice,” he said. His admiration for Dolorosa began when she was involved in a project of giving art lessons to female inmates in a Bandung prison. “I was touched by her patience,” he said.

Read also: Dolorosa Sinaga’s biography: A story of art and activism

The Sukarno statue by Dolorosa for the monument in Algiers was designed in a contemporary style. It is composed of thousands of iron bars which are installed together to create Sukarno's famous gesture of raising his hand. The iron bars represent the many Indonesian citizens who worked together in unity, bounded by Sukarno’s spirit.

Dolorosa, whose resume is dominated by works narrating human rights and women’s issues, said it was an honor for her to contribute to the project.

“I want to facilitate the audience in getting an artistic experience and understanding art expressions that can intellectually stimulate society,” she told the Post. “Besides being a medium of communication, art also has an educational aspect.”

Dolorosa said that, aside from Sukarno, she had only made three other statues of male figures, namely Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, poet Widji Thukul and former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur).

Dolorosa completed the statue in her studio in Jakarta and sent the work to be installed in Algiers.

The monument will be officiated on July 18. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually without the presence of Ridwan and Dolorosa. (wng)

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