Most present-day Indonesians remember Prince Diponegoro as an early nineteenth-century freedom fighter who led the Javanese in their fight against Dutch colonialism known as the Java War (1825-30). Others see the Java War leader as primarily a Yogyakarta prince whose image can be found in classrooms throughout Indonesia alongside other national heroes.
The exhibition A Prince for All Seasons: Diponegoro in the Memory of the Nation, from Raden Saleh to the Present revisits the extraordinary story of Diponegoro (1785-1855), as presented through the eyes of classical painters, contemporary artists as well as the general public.
Curated by Dr Werner Kraus, Jim Supangkat, and Dr Peter Carey, the exhibition serves as a link between past and present. It aims to encourage a deeper understanding of cultural and commemorative memory, allowing the Indonesian public to build a narrative picture of the past and therefore develop a certain image and identity for themselves.
This historic exhibition is initiated and coordinated by the Goethe-Institut Indonesien and is a joint cooperation between the Goethe-Institut Indonesien, Galeri Nasional Indonesia, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, the German Embassy in Indonesia, Arsari Djojohadikusumo Foundation, Erasmus Huis, Djarum Foundation, Yayasan Taut Seni, Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara, and Universitas Paramadina
A series of other fringe events, such as panel discussions and workshops, will complement this landmark exhibit, including the parallel exhibition Prince Diponegoro in Dutch Perspectives from 1800 Until Now, housed by Dutch cultural center Erasmus Huis. This exhibit, which also runs from 12 February to March 11, focusses on Diponegoro’s influence on Dutch politics and society in the nineteenth and twentieth century through letters, manuscripts, and articles in the Dutch press. It shows how the relationship between Diponegoro and the Netherlands continues to exist in and inspires works of art.