With a repertoire of around 50 published works including his most-known Buru Quartet, Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) is one of Indonesia’s most prolific authors and thinkers. His meticulously-researched realist novels attempt to change the way Indonesian people see their own history. At his core, Pram—as he is widely known—writes as a call to uphold humanity, a strongly held principle that has led to his capture and imprisonment for tens of years in his life.
Now in 2018, “Namaku Pram” in Dia.lo.gue Artspace emerges as the first-ever showcase of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s archives. The exhibition aims to illustrate the personal life of the man behind the works through personal items. Visitors are greeted with a quote by Pram set against a pale pink wall, followed by a timeline that delineates the events and works throughout Pram’s life. Alongside it are display cases, showing Pram’s drafts and letters to family and colleagues. Visitors can also watch interviews with Pram’s family and friends, who provide personal stories about the author.
A reconstruction of Pram’s workspace can be seen in the central area, across from a showcase of books by Pram. Outside, visitors can walk through ‘Taman Kata-Kata”, an installation of hanging fabric that display artfully arranged quotes taken from Pram’s books.
This exhibition was conceptualised in 2016 by Dia.lo.gue founder Engel Tanzil and actress Happy Salma, who played Nyai Ontosoroh in Bunga Penutup Abad, a theatrical adaptation of a story in the Buru Quartet. Curated by Engel Tanzil, the research of Pram’s archives took two years to compile. It is designed with the collaboration of Danny Wicaksono of Studiodasar for the exhibition space, graphic designer LeBoYe for the visual elements, and Table Six for the typography of “Taman Kata-Kata”.
With its concisely worded content and emotional appeal, “Namaku Pram” exhibition at Dia.Lo.Gue Artspace is a plea to the visitors—especially the younger generation—to familiarise themselves with history in order to gain a deeper understanding about humanity.
Catch the exhibition at Dia.lo.gue Artspace in Kemang, South Jakarta before it closes on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
Update: The exhibition has been extended until June 3, 2018. Do not miss your chance to visit!
Article by Dinda Mundakir
Photography by Daniel Jiang