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Untangling Sarinah’s Treasure Trove

Untangling Sarinah's Treasure Trove

It turns out that the Sarinah building has hidden “treasure” that’s never been exposed before.

The treasure is a historical relief, a legacy from the reign of President Soekarno, in the basement of the half-century-old building.

The treasure was revealed when the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Erick Thohir, visited the building on Jalan Thamrin, Central Jakarta. He made sure that he would pay special attention to the relief, with a major renovation programme for the Sarinah building.

“Frankly, I am deeply moved. I am also an art lover so when I see the condition of our cultural arts that are not maintained I’m not happy,” said Erick.

Here are some facts on this treasure:

  • Soekarno commissioned the statue

The proclaimer of independence and first president of Indonesia, Soekarno, was the one who sparked the creation of this artwork. Siding with the people’s economy has been the spirit of the founders of this nation.

  • The use of modern casting technology

A team of cultural heritage experts (TACB) said the artwork was large in size. The manufacturing process used modern, single-panel casting technology. Likewise, when Sarinah was built as a manifestation of modernisation, it was a beacon for the revival of a superior national economy ran for the people.

  • The relief will be restored and exhibited

In the 80s, Sarinah was set on fire and there was also a project to widen the visitor’s corridor, both of which led to the relief being moved to the ground floor. With regard to the transformation and renovation of this relief, it will be exhibited when the restoration is over and Sarinah is back in operation.

  • Created by Yogyakarta Artists Group (1962-1966)

According to the records of several historians and national fine arts experts, this statue was made by a group of Yogyakarta artists during the construction period (1962-1966), featuring colonisers and traders who symbolise the struggle of normal people to make a living.

However, the architect or designer of this statue is still being investigated by the team of cultural heritage experts. Blueprints are also being searched for to allow for an accurate restoration of the work.

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