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AN exhibition of works by the late I Gusti Nyoman Lempad is currently on at the Salihara Gallery, South Jakarta. Lempad’s pictures are wide-ranging, with inspiration from mythology, folklore, ancient Balinese script, and the daily life of humble Balinese folk. Lempad’s interpretation of life was singularly unique.
THE directorate of culture at the ministry of education and culture launched a new book titled Art & Diplomacy on August 17. The book contains rare pictures from the independence movement taken by photographers under IPPHOS—the nation’s very first photojournalism news agency—and posters, caricatures and cartoons created by artists of the day.
THE keris (dagger or kris) belonging to Diponegoro, also known as Raden Mas Ontowiryo, was returned by the Dutch government to Indonesia on March 10. The dagger, known as Kiai Naga Siluman, was believed to have been given to the Dutch by Diponegoro. Dutch and Indonesian researchers who studied the kris verified that it was Naga Siluman based on a letter from Diponegoro’s former officer Sentot Alibasya Prawirodirdjo, and a description of the dagger by Javanese painter Raden Saleh, who lived and worked for many years in Europe in the mid-19th century. However, Indonesian kris specialists have casted doubt on whether the old weapon is indeed Diponegoro’s Naga Siluman as mentioned by Sentot. From the details, they say, it seemed that the dagger is a Naga Sasra, which has quite distinct characteristics from a Naga Siluman. These Indonesian experts deem it impossible that Prince Diponegoro would not know the difference between a Naga Siluman and a Naga Sasra. Thus, the National Museum will be waiting for a compromise between kris specialists and historians before exhibiting the dagger, together with other items owned by Diponegoro, at a certain point after the corona pandemic subsides.
Indonesia faced several epidemics during the Dutch East Indies era. From outbreaks of cholera and pestilence in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the early of the 20th century up until the impact of the Spanish Flu. Those pandemics resembled the current situation. After a late response to the outbreak, the colonial government finally enacted a regional quarantine. Many things can be learned from past epidemics. Mitigation strategies, appropriate isolation measures, and rapid responses are needed.
In colonial times, the fight for independence was also driven by native doctors who graduated from the School tot Opleiding van Indische Artsen (STOVIA).