Early Travels to the ‘Dutch East Indies’

Today’s travellers may feel envious of those who visited Bali back when it was ‘untouched’, but do not realise the difficulty of not only getting to the island but also the challenges once they arrived. Sake Santema, owner of antiques dealer Indies Gallery, explores early travels to Indonesia and Bali, complemented by prints and images

Sake Santema

Spedagi Bamboo Bikes: Powering a Village Revolution

Melding technology and nature in a sustainable and aesthetic way, artist and designer Singgih Susilo Kartono has created Spedagi, bamboo bikes that rekindle the human-nature relationship. In turn, this unique product has also triggered the revitalisation of his home village in Central Java. Photos by Spedagi.  Humans have utilised bamboo for over 5,000 years. It’s

Soya C(o)u(l)ture: A Fashion Material from Tofu Wastewater

An all-female collective from Yogyakarta focuses on the exploration of art, science, and technology, The art collective is addressing environmental issues and empowering women to get a better grasp of science. Photos by XXLab. XXLab was formed in 2014 by five women: Irene Agrivina, Asa Rahmana, Atinna Rizqiana, Eka Jayani, and Ratna Djuwita. This was

Ayumu Gendouts: A Funky Twist on Indonesian Woven Crafts

The Indonesian handmade crafts industry is no stranger to woven bamboo bags. Due to their practicality and affordability, it is almost a guarantee that all Indonesians, especially women, own at least one of these types of bags. Because of this commonality, however, lots of artists and vendors have to explore their creativity in order to

Belantara Budaya Indonesia: A Cultural Education

Understanding that education goes beyond academia, the organisation Belantara Budaya Indonesia focuses on the continuation of Indonesian culture, providing free traditional dance and music classes across the generations. It was started ten years ago when Diah Kusumawardani set up Belantara Budaya Indonesia (BBI). In an era of widespread technological and digital adoption, Diah was worried

A Historic Look at the Majestic Prambanan Temple in Java 

Indonesia is a country rich in history and culture, with many ancient temples scattered throughout the archipelago. One of them is the majestic Prambanan temple located in Central Java, which is considered one of the most important Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. The complex is a testament to the ancient Javanese civilisation, and is a

Torajamelo, Preserving Indonesia’s Ancient Artisanal Weaving

Collaborating with more than 1,100 women weavers from different communities in Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara, Torajamelo blends traditional motifs of hand-woven fabrics into an array of fashion and lifestyle products, clothes, accessories, gifts and decor all given a beautiful ethnic flair. There is a lot of folklore behind the woven pieces made using the


Capturing Indonesia in the Mid-19th Century

Up until the 19th century, just before the invention of photography, the only way to show what people, landscapes and objects looked like was by painting, sketching or printing them. In the Netherlands many prints were published of their far east colonies, or nowadays, Indonesia.  “De Typen van Nederlandsch Oost-Indië” (Types of the Dutch East


Masks of Bali: Between Heaven and Hell

An outstanding new book documenting Bali’s living mask traditions and masterpieces has recently been launched, co-authored by acclaimed dancer-scholar, Prof. Dr. I Made Bandem, and art historian, Bruce W. Carpenter. Launched in Bali late December 2022 at the charming Tandjung Sari resort, followed by a launching at the Jakarta National Museum in March, this pivotal

Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Indonesian Textiles

This year we are going to run a series of stories focused on the best things you can buy in Indonesia, but they have to have one vital factor – they have to be made in Indonesia, and preferably designed and all materials sourced in Indonesia, as well!  We will not restrict this series to

Art Jakarta Gardens Returns to Capture Young Art Enthusiasts

Stunning sculptures and installations by a number of renowned artists will be impressively displayed at the lush manicured lawns of Hutan Kota by Plataran for Art Jakarta Gardens 2023. Held from 7 to 12 February 2023, the outdoor garden exhibition presents displays and programs catered specially to entice young art enthusiasts, though all are welcome


Savis Tea: A Showcase of Indonesia’s Rich Tea Bounty

The artisan tea products that combines tradition, art and technology to support a natural and healthy lifestyle. Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world next to water. It is heavily steeped in interesting traditions and cultures across the globe, especially Indonesia to having a cup in daily life either to warm the routines,

Ancient Javanese Indigo Batik Explored in Zahir Widadi’s New Book

Indonesia commemorates National Batik Day every 2 October after UNESCO designated batik as a Humanitarian Heritage for Oral Tradition and Intangible Culture. In order to celebrate the day, there are many activities held to reinforce batik as Indonesian culture and heritage during the month, one of them is about natural-dyed indigo batik.  In October, the Indonesian Heritage

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