We went to the opening of Mooi Indie photo exhibition at Spazio, a sociohistorical culture event featuring ‘Portrait of Life’ of Jean Demmeni, curated by archivist from ANRI (Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia) Mona Lohanda, Ph.D who also a historian focusing on Batavia or we call it today as Jakarta. Jean was a government photographer from Netherlands. Equipped and privileged by the government she managed to capture colonialism in Indonesia back then around 1866-1939. Her works representing the condition of modernization and industrialization Dutch brought into this country, from agricultural to factories, seafaring and trading.
Overall these works showed that ‘de Nederlanders’ domineered ‘de inlanders’ but at the same time they made them civilized. Jean also documented the beauty of landscapes and human interests of the native land-a Mooi Indie.
When seeing to these photographs it is so mind boggling we wondered how at the time Indonesia became so industrialized and modernized that somehow nowadays our beloved country is supposed to be standing side by side with Korean, Japan or maybe China, but unfortunately the reality tells otherwise.
In the meantime by continuously reflecting ourselves with the past we can learn lessons as an improvement to the way of thinking, acting and seeing the world around us for the better future.
The whole show was amusing,after several welcome speeches including from Mrs. Mona Lohanda herself , the guests were welcomed to enjoy the complements of the event, while listening to the traditional music of Keroncong we mingled with other guests eating authentic cuisine of the Inlander heritage..siomay Bandung, satai and ‘bubur kendil’ Madura..perfect!