News : Silent Criticism of “Borobudur Women”


Opened last Tuesday evening of 20 February 2018 at the A Building of the National Gallery of Indonesia, the exhibition of Dyan Anggraini and Landung Simatupang entitled “Borobudur Women” achieved appreciations. An appreciation came from a famous movie figure Nia Dinata who officiated the exhibition.

Nia viewed the artworks in the exhibition displayed roles equality between two artists who had different backgrounds. Dyan is a visual art artist and a former bureaucrat in a cultural institution, while Landung is a poet, translator, theatrical actor and director, also a movie actor. Both artist and poet took each role equally without dominating or fading the other, so they together could create artworks with intact and strong visualizations.

“When I feel the soul and concept of this exhibition, I am aware that an equal collaboration can be presented anywhere, in the work of art, also in a poetry mixed with visual art,” said Nia. Sumarmin, Head of Collection and Preservation, who represented the Head of the National Gallery of Indonesia added, “This collaboration is very interested because two artists from different creative backgrounds work together, fill and complete each other.”

Not only about the role equality, Dyan and Landung also get a positive feedback because they bring an issue about women from time to time through the images of women carved on the relief of Borobudur Temple connected to today’s women life especially those who live around Borobudur area. The curator Suwarno Wisetrotomo mentioned,”There are silent criticisms about the world of women. The icon of Borobudur Temple is intentionally presented in the hope that it can reach the problems about the complexity of women in general.”

Dyan and Landung started from a research. They began with reading literatures about Borobudur and finding written fact history about Borobudur and its reliefs. They also observed the reliefs directly as well as spoke with people who lived around Borobudur to get stories about Borobudur and observed their socio-cultural life. They finally got information about the existence of Desa Klipoh (Klipoh Village) in the Western part of Borobudur. They then found an ironic phenomena.

Based on local people’s story, Desa Klipoh existed a long time ago. There lived women who prepared foods for the workers who built Borobudur centuries ago. Until now, Desa Klipoh still exists and most women there are modest pottery craftswomen.
“Now, most women craft pottery traditionally. The workers are women, elderly mothers. We just enjoyed a glamourous tourism in Borobudur. Then, we came to Desa Klipoh and took us by surprise. It was a contrary situation between the business (Borobudur-red) which was very lively by making a lot of money with the life of the mothers of Desa Klipoh. It makes us think and interpret present Borobudur,” said Landung.

“Borobudur Women” will continue on display until 5 March 2018 at A Building, National Gallery of Indonesia. Both Dyan and Landung hope that this exhibition trigger today’s women to develop their ability for the nation. “We hope that Indonesian women today can have more courage to testify about themselves also to show their potency for the sake of many people. We now can see some women ministers show up and shine. This is the right time for all women to move forward,” mentioned this middle-aged man who graduated from the Faculty of Literature of Gadjah Mada University.

“A message for men is not to underestimate women because women have many roles. Their flexibility, gentleness - men do not have them. In facing many problems on individual as well as social level, flexibility, gentleness, motherhood; those sometimes can solve problems to find the way out,” said him.