Saturday, January 29, 2011

Proud to be Javanese

Last Thursday’s book and exhibition opening entitled “Migration and cultural heritage: Stories of Javanese in Suriname, Indonesia and The Netherlands” was more than just a fleeting presentation of research and cultural artefacts.

The evening at Erasmus Huis provided an insight to over 150 years of history on Javanese migration, a detailed explanation of cultural heritage and identity, and for some, a little lesson in geography as well.

Though a small nation, and one that rarely features in global headlines, Suriname, in northern South America, sits atop its giant neighbor Brazil and is cushioned neatly between Guyana and French Guiana. More importantly however, it has also been the site of much Dutch and Javanese migration.

A series of well-researched and respected speakers addressed a full house, providing the historical backdrop of each nation and contextualizing the exhibition.

Collectively they discussed the benefits and negative elements of migration by the Javanese into the Netherlands and Suriname. Dialogue about the division of society based on cultural and religious lines, and the economic hardship and emotional breakdown endured by Javanese communities resonated powerfully with the audience.

(Courtesy from the Jakarta Post)

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