Indonesia Kontemporer 2017 Festival

Yesterday, Saturday 7th October, I went to the Indonesia Kontemporer 2017 Festival in London. This is an annual festival that celebrates Indonesian arts and cultural traditions by combining performances, stalls showcasing Art and fashion, cooking demonstrations, exhibitions, food stalls and film screenings. The festival took place at Russell Square, part of the SOAS University of London. The weather luckily stayed dry for an Autumn day, which meant that everyone could enjoy the joyful atmosphere of gathering friends and families experiencing and celebrating the wonderful Indonesian culture.


I went to the event with my wonderful friends [left to right] Stephanie Onggowinoto, Teofilia Onggowinoto, Prajna Indrawati, Prajna Dewi and Amelia Widjaja. I know Stephanie, Prajna, and Amelia from the Royal College of Music and they are all fantastic and gifted pianists. I had the pleasure of meeting their siblings Teofilia and Dewi over the past few weeks and it has been lovely getting to know them. Prajna, Dewi, Stephanie, and Teofilia are from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia and Amelia is from Padang a city in West Sumatra.

Whilst at the festival I tried some amazing cuisine, Chicken Satay, Bakwan, Indomie, Nasi Uduk, and Bakso. I particularly enjoyed ‘Sate Padang’ which is a specialty from Amelia’s home city. The desserts were fabulous and one of my favourites was Spekkoek, Thousand Layer Cake, which I have been told is extremely difficult and time consuming to make.  Pandan Chiffon cake was also delicious. This cake receives this name because the sponge is so light and similar to the material chiffon. I sadly do not have any pictures of the food as we were sharing and it was too tasty to let go cold 🙂


At the festival, I watched a musical performance from an ensemble playing the Angklung. This instrument from Indonesia is made from Bamboo and has a particular technique to make the instrument sound. Each instrument is pitched to a particular note. The ensemble performed without music and were lead by their conductor who showed the pulse with one hand like a conductor, but with his other hand presented Solfege hand signs and chord numbers to indicate which pitches should be playing. It was very interesting to watch. Here is a short video 🙂



In the afternoon I attended a story-telling exhibition lead by Felicia Siregar. She told stories from her two Bilingual, Indonesian and English, books for children called Pirok Goes to the City and Komodo wants to play Music. These stories introduce images from Indonesia:  landscapes, metropolitan life, animals and musical instruments. The second story was accompanied by Gamelan music. It was wonderful to see the children excited and enthralled by the stories and the music, I too also really enjoyed the show.


My friends also took me around the fashion exhibition and explained to me about their national dress, which is very colourful and ornate. Whilst admiring the fabrics I treated myself to a scarf that was hand woven on Komodo island in Indonesia. It is very colourful and has most of the colours of the rainbow woven into it so I am very happy, especially as the colder months are drawing closer.


Having the opportunity to experience the culture, cuisine, and arts from Indonesia showed me yet again that though the world is a large and wondrous place that in the end what we all have in common far outweigh our differences.  We should celebrate the things we have in common and be open and understanding of our differences.

66 thoughts on “Indonesia Kontemporer 2017 Festival

  1. Wonderful event, dear Charlotte! I’m very happy you’ve had this colourful 🙂 experience. Mmmm the food must have been delicious! 😉 Have a nice week!

    1. I know so was I, just yesterday a man drove up on the pavement near me to do a circular turn quickly my heart quickened I just don’t think he realised how scary that would seem to a pedestrian.
      Best wishes

      1. Well… I’ve been better, honestly (lots of stuff happening, not all of it good, plus I’ve been sick). I’m feeling better now, but the last couple of weeks have been kind of rough (hence why I’m only replying now).

  2. It is fascinating to experience other culture’s art, food and fashion. They expand your awareness of other cultures that exist and many possibilities. It looks like you had a great time. The scarf looks fantastic on you.

  3. Sounds great fun, have been to listen to Gamelan music, as they play the great Gamelan on the 3rd floor of the Royal Festival hall in the South Bank centre for the arts. (I used to spend a lot of time in the British poetry library on the fourth floor.) I love this music, and have read that it was this music that lead to idea and philosophy behind 20th century music. I read this in Simon Rattles book, Leaving home, Orchestral music in the 20th century. (he also made a video series of the book) I love Indonesian cookery, as many Indonesians were brought to the Cape as slaves by the British authorities (they were wrongly called Malays, as were both Malaysian and Thai people. Some of the Indonesian words can be seen in the Afrikaans language, and are now getting into everyday English usage in South Africa. A lot of Indonesian cookery has evolved into South African cookery, but there are still restaurants where you can get traditional Indonesian food as well. Best wishes and blessings, Charles.

    1. That’s really interesting Charles thank you. I must speak to the girls to see if they have any relatives in South Africa. I’ve always had a real interest in Gamelan music and the dance style since I had a taste of it in Glasgow, I’d love to visit and this was the next best thing.
      Best wishes

      1. Many of the people related to the original slaves who came from Indonesia no longer have their original surnames, some of them are Muslim, and some Christian. We have many made up names like September, and January, probably given to them to commemorate the month of their arrival, they are now subsumed into the people who until recently were called the Cape Coloureds, speak Kaaps or Goema which are variations on Afrikaans. Go down to the Royal festival hall and ask about their Gamelan, and when they play it. You can attend music, opera, films and plays very cheaply in this area.

  4. Great !! Thanks you to have share this nice moment Charlotte.
    You’re writting is full with nice energies, color, smilles and happynes –

    All the very best for you and wish you a wonderfull week !

    1. I must admit the weather and overcast skies were starting to drain my energy by the end of last week but this weekend energised me for the start of a new week 😀.
      Best wishes

  5. What a wonderful opportunity to share in one of the most exciting and vibrant arts in the world. I love Indonesian art and am simply green over that gorgeous scarf. Thank you for sharing. Good on you!

  6. So much fun and culture!Wonderful festival photos and events,loved the Bamboo instruments and the video included.Best wishes for a splendid week ahead,dear Charlotte 🙂 xxx

    1. I agree Eric, I thoroughly enjoy the diversity of students I get the chance to meet and work with. I like to think I’m becoming a more rounded citizen of the world.
      Best wishes

  7. Sounded like a wonderful time with friends and good food and fun times. The books look cute and the scarf is lovely and colorful! Hugs xx

  8. Hi Charlotte, good story there at London 🙂 I do agree with your closing statement, that we need to open and appreciate the cultural differences. Regards from Indonesia

Leave a Reply to kethuprofumoCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: