The Jakarta Post
Renowned poet Ismail Marzuki, cosmetic mogul Martha Tilaar and Dutch-born Javanese culture promoter Franciscus Georgius J van Lith are recipients of one of this year’s prestigious culture awards for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of arts and culture in Indonesia.
Every year since 2012, the Education and Culture Ministry has given awards to 54 people, local governments, communities and the media as a token of appreciation for their roles in strengthening the character of the nation.
The awards come in eight categories: creator, trailblazer and innovator; art conservation; traditional arts; children and youth; regional administrations; media; community; and foreigners.
“It is expected that the honor of receiving an award will spark narratives concerning the preservation of our culture and in turn inspire other people to contribute to arts and culture in Indonesia,” Hilmar Farid, the ministry’s director general of culture, said on Tuesday.
Another big name on the list is Raden Mas Soerjo Soeparto, the sultan of Surakarta, Central Java, from 1916 through 1944, for creating Langendriyan, a Javanese opera. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo presented his award posthumously on Aug. 11.
Several recipients, including Van Lith and artist Semsar Siahaan, will receive their awards posthumously in a ceremony conducted by Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy in Jakarta this Friday.
The award for creating new forms of art goes to 10 people with the late Semsar being most well-known for using his art as a medium to criticize the then authoritarian president Soeharto. He was also a co-founder of the Alliance of Independence Journalists (AJI).
Nine individuals will receive awards in the cultural preservation category. Maria Yovita Meta Bastian is one of the nine. She will receive the award for her work in promoting the conservation of tenun ikat (hand-woven textiles) in East Nusa Tenggara. Agustinus Sasundu from North Sulawesi will also receive the award for creating bamboo musical instruments.
A young, internationally recognized pianist, Joey Alexander, is receiving an award for the child and youth category. The 13-year-old prodigy won global attention after being nominated twice for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards this year.
Bengkulu City will get an award for its efforts to preserve local culture, including historical buildings like the Malborough fortress, president Sukarno’s exile home and a Chinese village.
A private TV station, Trans7, will receive an award for the popular program Si Bolang, which features local traditions through children’s perspectives. The award in the community category will go to Parmalim from North Sumatra, a musical and visual arts group previously featured at the famed Batak Toba festival.
In 2015, the ministry added the foreigners category for people who have made great contributions to the promotion and/or conservation of Indonesian arts and culture despite having different nationalities. This year, the awards for the foreigners category will go to Merle Calvin Ricklefs, an expert in Indonesian history and Javanese literature, Anthony Reid, a pioneer in modern Sumatra history, and Margaret J. Kartomi, an ethno-musician. All three of the award recipients are Australian. (wnd)
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