Monday, March 18, 2019


I visited TEFAF 2019 yesterday in Maastricht. TEFAF stands for the European Fine Art Fair. I was speechless to see such high quality and rarely art works from all over the world. It was so fascinating to think of capability of humankind to create beautiful stuff beyond believe. A lot of details to observe and a lot of stories behind to find out. TEFAF was a spiritual journey for me. 

In one of the exhibition corners, my eyes catched a very interesting information. The Art Loss Register (ALR). It is a database about half million art objects that are stolen, missing and looted, as well as those subject to title disputes, freezing orders and financial liens, and within permanent collections. The database also includes details of works that have been reported with authenticity issues by police and foremost experts (resource: ALR brochure). This organization (or company) was founded in 1990 in England. Their service basically are three things: Register, Search and Recover.

Will Korner, the one who represented ALR in TEFAF 2019, told me that ALR is the only one in the world of such kind organizations. I couldn't help myself to say "Wow..." when I heard this, considering of time span and number of art works that have been stolen or looted. 

For Indonesia, this issue is very up-to-date and actual. In TEFAF 2019 I saw some antique objects that I wondered how they ended up there. I open options that they were legally acquired but knowing regulations about protection of national heritage, those objects must be related to the past.

In recent years there were some accidents happened in Indonesia that museum collections were stolen or dissapeared. If they are not solved yet, ALR can be of good option for solutions. The good news is that ALR offers its service for free for governments and public sector. Here we go! Please check the website link above to see more details of this organization. 

Friday, March 08, 2019


Yesterday I attended a seminar of Studio Shared Heritage, a cooperation between ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology)  and TU Delft. It is a three years program to provide opportunities for students to exercise about shared heritage projects in both Indonesia and Netherlands.

They have just finished the first batch with a case study of the Art Deco City of Bandung in Indonesia. Yesterday, the students presented the ideas covering various subjects from adaptive reuse to climate issues. I think their ideas are amusing since these young scholars are not burden with realistic problems of bureaucracy and typical challenges for heritage projects in Indonesia. 

Some of them have brilliant ideas to transform densed kampung behind Braga Street into vertical kampung with bamboo materials. Other student will transform colonial buildings into housing of the kampung people to solve density problems.

The student didn't understand why the kampung is so densed while many colonial buildings few hundred meters away are still vacant? That is typical Dutch approach which is logic. But in Indonesia? It is still unthinkable to transform historical grand buildings into kampung style housing. Any Indonesian experts will understand that is impossible for the time being, but I supported the idea of the student because it helps to shift a paradigm of heritage practice in Indonesia. 

The current heritage paradigm is to freeze history and make historical buildings as sacred sactuaries. The appropriate heritage paradigm (at least appropriate according to form and function) is to conserve dynamic historical values and make use of historical buildings for current needs. 

These students will have various jobs and positions in the next 10 years, they will remember what they exercise today. That is why it is important to give them freedom to exercise their heritage ideals. That is a school for. 

Once they enter the real world, they will lost that luxury and have to swallow painful facts. They will need knowledge and experience of today as students to stay strong and pursue  of their ideals. 

Friday, March 01, 2019


The theme of Heritage Day 18 April this year is Rural Heritage. I couldn't agree more with this theme since I have seen myself how heritage can play an important role in rural economic social cultural development in Temanggung. Spedagi with its Pasar Papringan in Temanggung so far is the best practice that has been surviving indepedently without subsidies. Outsiders are simply taking roles as triggers but the main actors are local people. I think it is one of the few cases in Indonesia and in the world in general. 

Close to home is a suburb area along the Gein River where I often bike or walk. The farm Anna Haen is transformed into restaurant and accommodation facilities because the farm doesn't provide adequate income anymore. It also offers cooking workshops, boat trips and promotes local farm products.

I observed from the beginning several years ago when the restaurant only opened at weekends for breakfast and lunch. Now, they are open every single day until 20.00. When the sun shines, it packed up with bikers and families. 

Food in Anna Haen is guaranted local, healthy and delicious. That might be the reason why it becomes so popular. Organic, vegetarian and local are new ideology in Holland, especially for high educated middle upper class type. 

With a setting of the Gein River and cows on the meadow, the farm Anna Haen is the best postcard ever for everyone. I am one of them. I am happy to see this entrepreneur grows and succesfull, especially after I read a story about them in a national newspaper how difficult for them to survive as a farmer. This might be a fact of 21st Century that farms must switch into creative entrepreneurships. 

Spedagi and Anna Haen are vivid examples of rural heritage without use a single word of heritage in their businesses. That might not needed since action is more valuable than a term.