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Jakarta Post

Art exhibition in Belgium highlights RI's maritime identity

  • Safrin La Batu

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 26, 2017   /   07:58 pm
Art exhibition in Belgium highlights RI's maritime identity Precious object – A local resident takes a picture of a Mahakala statue found by officers from the Central Java Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency (BPCB) in April 2016. The statue was found during an excavation of an ancient site in Gunung Wijil, Giriroto village, Ngemplak district, Boyolali. ( Nugroho Adi)

At least 248 artifacts from museums in Indonesia are on display at an art exhibition at La Boverie Museum in Liege, Belgium, from Oct. 25 to Jan. 28.

The exhibition, themed “Kingdom of the Archipelago,” explores traditions developed by ancestors of the Indonesian people and shows how integral maritime activities were to the nation's identity. A Padewakang, a traditional boat from South Sulawesi, on display at the museum, for example, gives visitors a strong sense on Indonesia’s maritime culture.

“Since the era of early kingdoms in Indonesia, maritime [activities] have been deeply fundamental to the nation’s way of life,” said a statement from the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister.

“During that time, sea fleets owned by maritime kingdoms in the archipelago, such as the Srivijaya, the Majapahit, the Gowa and the Demak, were highly respected.”

“By holding tight control of the seas, they played a very important role in trade activities in areas across Indonesia, and even abroad. They were highly respected by traders and envoys from China and Arabia,” said the ministry.

The exhibition presents stages of Indonesia’s maritime history, from the ancient era to the modern era.

Artifacts on display include stones, bronze, ancient paintings and items that show the transition period between the eras.

The exhibition is part of this year’s biennial Europalia Arts Festival. Indonesia is the guest country this year and is set to display its art and culture richness across European cities. (ebf)