Indonesia’s cultural hubs are Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bandung (painting, music) and Bali (town of Ubud). Writers such as the late Pramudya Ananta Toer († 2006) are world-renowned.
There is an increasing orientation towards the Asia-Pacific due to growing socio-economic ties to this region. Culture-conscious programmes on the numerous radio and TV channels are very rare. The New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (broadcast on Metro TV) stands out like a lighthouse – in spite of all the commercials. Indonesia’s TV programmes feature mostly domestic soap operas („cinetron“) as well as productions from China, Korea, India and Brazil.
As concerns European classical music, the Nusantara Symphony Orchestra has become a commendable contributor in recent years. Under the Austria-educated conductor and pianist Avip Priatna, the Batavia Madrigal Singers have attained international renown for their choral music. Several Indonesian choirs participated in the 5. International Choir Reunion in Graz in July 2008 and won many prizes.
Jazz enjoys great popularity in Indonesia as a widespread pastime. The international „JavaJazz“ Festival Jakarta takes place every year in March and is one of the biggest events of its kind. Austrian musicians regularly participate as well.
The Komunitas/Teater Utan Kayu (TUK) in Jakarta, founded by the writer, poet, editor and activist Goenawan Mohamad, constitutes an important forum for contemporary art. In 1971 he founded “TEMPO”, a weekly magazine intermittently banned during the Soeharto-era because of its critical stance against the regime. In 2008 the Komunitas Utan Kayu established „Salihara“, a new cultural centre in South Jakarta and important reference point especially for contemporary performing arts.
The official visit of the director of the Cultural Policy Section in the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Emil Brix, to Indonesia and Singapore in April 2009 facilitated the assessment and intensification of the respective cultural and scientific ties.
The Austrian Embassy’s cultural focal points are music and new media/film. As a “music country,” Austria enjoys an excellent, almost unique reputation in the region, which in the past has allowed the Embassy to organise commercial projects such as the two very successful New Year’s concerts of the „Symphonia Vienna“ orchestra in Jakarta in January 2009. In addition, the first „Kempinski Vienna Ball“, organised jointly by the Austrian Embassy, the city of Vienna and the Austrian Tourism Association in Jakarta in October 2009, was a big success.
Films are very popular among Indonesians. In cooperation with other EU Embassies and the local Goethe-Institut the Austrian Embassy was able to organise screenings of Austrian films and co-productions (such as Oscar-winning “Die Fälscher” [“The Counterfeiters”] and Oscar-nominated “Revanche”).
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies in Austria (Vienna and Salzburg) for the year 2017. The call for applications for the Artists in Residence Programme 2017 is open to creative artists whose permanent place of residence is outside of Austria and who have completed their training.
More information and the application form can be found on the Website.
On the Subject
The Dialogue of Cultures is an important topic in the bilateral relations between Austria and Indonesia. In September 2010, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the “Institute of Hindu Dharma Negeri Denpasar“ organized a bilateral dialogue symposium in Bali. The main topic of discussion was the role of women in religion, society and politics. This was already the fourth intercultural dialogue symposium between Austrian and Indonesia. The next meeting will take place 2014/2015 in Vienna. On the occasion of the state visit of the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer to Indonesia on November 19th 2011, a joint statement on the cooperation in the field of dialogue of cultures was signed by the Foreign Ministries - with both Presidents attending the signing. Austria, due to its history and geopolitical situation, has a long-standing tradition in intercultural and inter-religious dialogue activities, in particular with the Muslim world and Islam in Europe. The legal recognition of Islam as early as 1912 has contributed to the fact that dialogue has featured prominently on Austria’s foreign policy agenda for decades.